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Five biggest PR scares over an ocean image.by: Christy Marion, PR & AR Specialist
@christymarion7

In honor of the holiday (we’re going to consider it a holiday despite the continual debate of the politically correct), we are recapping five horrifying PR stunts of the year. No one is perfect and mistakes will happen, but in these cases we believe a bit more crisis management could’ve/should’ve taken place.

What we would’ve done differently.

1. American Airline’s accidental response: The airline responded to a negative comment with a tweet welcoming the feedback along with an accidental but extremely vulgar image. They issued a statement to apologize, but the already unhappy customer was even more disturbed – along with the rest of their Twitter following. 

What could’ve been done: When you are a large brand with very active social platforms, to make sure your customers have a real-time user experience, you should always be very cautious when replying to customers and monitor your social accounts closely.

2. #myNYPD: The NYPD suggested the Twitter world upload pictures of their experience with #myNYPD and as you can probably imagine, some were very disturbing.

What could’ve been done: As a federal organization controlling crime, we would simply suggest not asking people to tweet pictures of their experience. In the future, the NYPD could host a positive campaign surrounding the community.

3. Chevron ‘pizza and soda’ apology: We believe pizza and soda is a great solution to many things. However, an exception would be to an explosion of a natural gas well. Chevron believed the best apology was to send residents in Bobtown, Pa. a coupon for a free pizza and soft drinks.

What could’ve been done: Oil companies have many responsibilities, and that includes keeping communities confident they will be safe. Chevron should’ve had a much better response including a written apology, explanation and what will be done to prevent such disasters from happening moving forward.

4. Malaysia Airlines ‘Ultimate Bucket List’ competition: The airline suffered financial losses and overall reputation damage amongst two huge disasters this year. To top it off, they came up with a “Bucket List” themed contest where potential clients in Australia and New Zealand were invited to share their “bucket list” for a chance to win a free ticket. The definition of “bucket list” is a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying. What were they thinking?

What they could’ve done: Continue to focus on the mishandled response to the MH370 crisis.

5. NFL – Need we say more?

What they could’ve done: Anything else.

Crises will occur. But, the way you can prevent and manage a crisis after the fact is to have a plan and not get spooked.

Happy Halloween!