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Bad PR

Bad PR: Malaysia Airlines ‘Ultimate Bucket List’ Competition

Malaysia_Airlines_B777-200ER

Straight from the files of What Were You Thinking? comes a “Bucket List”-themed contest from Malaysia Airlines that ranks as the second worst decision recently made by the beleaguered travel brand (the first was to retain its name in the “rebranding” campaign that started Friday with the elimination of 6,000 jobs).

As reported by Time, potential customers in Australia and New Zealand were recently invited to share their “bucket lists” (i.e., lists of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying) for a chance to win a free ticket.

We don’t even need to tell you why this idea was one of the worst possible choices for the company.

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Sexist Headline in The Telegraph Sparks Backlash, Social Media Uproar

When was the last time you saw a headline about a man’s job promotion that read, “Father of Three Poised to Lead Major Company?”

Oh, that’s right. Never. Which is why this recent headline in The Telegraph announcing the expected career move of Rona Fairhead, the former Financial Times chief executive who is likely about to become the first female chair of the BBC Trust, just didn’t sit well with readers.

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Is it true and accurate that Ms. Fairhead is indeed a mother? Yes. Is it a worthy and major accomplishment of which she should be proud? Of course. Is it the most relevant of her accomplishments with regard to her career? Nope.

The paper could have mentioned that she is a longtime businesswoman who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, or that she was a former employee at Bain & Company and Morgan Stanley and the former CEO of Bombardier’s UK Aerospace Services, or that she is currently a non-executive director at HSBC Holdings. But instead, the paper decided to focus on the novelty of a woman (a mother, no less!) holding such a position of power. Read more

Zara Acts Fast to Pull Shirt That Resembles Concentration Camp Uniform

Zara has been trending all day for all the wrong reasons.

The retailer faced swift backlash to a striped children’s shirt decorated with a yellow star that looks like the uniforms worn in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The company quickly took to Twitter to apologize individually to users who criticized the company for the item. The tweet above is repeated over and over and in a number of languages on its timeline right now.

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Anything Named ISIS is Due for a Rebrand

isis bandUntil recently, the word “Isis” didn’t mean much to many people. At least not here in the US. Then we started to hear about the terror they inflicted as they took control of area after area across Iraq and Syria. Then, of course, there was the horrifying news of James Foley’s beheading. Now, the word “ISIS” elicits nothing but fear, disgust and anger.

So it’s unfortunate if you’re a brand with the name Isis.

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Bad News for CNN Employees: Jeff Zucker Just ‘Went There’

CNN Upfront 2014

So, you think the economy has rebounded and your savings account can begin its weatherstripping for the colder days. Vacations are being planned, allowances are no longer declined and date nights are back in full swing.

Only one problem: You work at CNN.

In a corporate-wide memo recently sent to all Turner Broadcasting employees, CNN Chief Jeff Zucker and Turner CEO John Martin said that, as part of the company’s “Turner 2020″ plan, the company will unveil a new corporate structure “in the next two months.”

This is CNN.

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Samsung Receives Editorial Smackdown for ALS Newsjacking Stunt

Newsjacking and the ALS ice bucket challenge were two of the big topics on this little blog last week, and on Friday Samsung and its in-house creative/marketing teams in the UK managed to combine them both in this ad (which somehow earned the “alcoholic drinks” tag on our sister site Ads of the World).

You’ll have to forgive us for failing to notice most of the ALS posts appearing in our feeds recently; they all start to blend together pretty quickly unless you happen to know the people involved. But this little play for attention was noteworthy in that it inspired something we never see: an editorial wag of the finger via TechCrunch.

Three million views is a fair number for such a large brand, but we’re more interested in two particular critiques of this not-quite-real-time-marketing stunt.

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People Magazine Sued for Discrimination

whitetalkblacktalkOften in the hallways of schools or reality TV, you will hear some dolt saying something that involves little intelligence, like, “Man, she doesn’t sound black.

As if someone who sounds black must reverberate like Barry White. Conversely, someone who “sounds white” should have a douchey resonance, speak in text lingo, and use the word “bro” without a hint of irony.

You wonder why we bring this up? Enter into the fray People magazine, which used the topic to earn itself a nice lawsuit. Read more

Anthropologie Brings Us ‘Nipplegate’

breastfeedingAnthropologie shopper Ingrid Wiese Hesson recently spoke to CBS news about an unfortunate (and illegal, according to California state law) incident she experienced at the chain’s Beverly Hill’s store, which she is calling “nipplegate.”

Here’s the story:

After spending $700 dollars on “breastfeeding friendly” clothes, Hesson sat down to breastfeed on one of the stores plush vintage chairs. Before long, she was approached by a manager, who said “I’m here to escort you to the ladies’ room so you can finish breastfeeding…”

When the manager opened the door to the restroom, she apologized for the lack of a chair. “Of course the only thing in the bathroom is the toilet seat,” Hesson noted.

Hesson said she contacted the store manager later to find out more about what had happened. The manager “said there are other customers in the store, and she thought they would be more comfortable and you would be more comfortable,” she recalled.

The manager’s actions “won’t stop me from doing what’s best for my baby, but it could stop me from shopping at stores that aren’t tolerant,” Hessen said.

Frankly, this one shocks me because I swear I’ve come across an Anthro catalogue featuring a breastfeeding model in some tribal maxi skirt pedaling optional $100 nipple tassels to plug up leakage when not in use.

It just all seems to go against the brand’s bourgeoise bohemian ethos, amirite? Read more

Solar Energy Has a PR Problem: Massive Teepees of Doom are Killing Birds

Fried-Chicken-Set2Environmentalists had much to celebrate when the Ivanpah Energy Power Facility in California flipped its switch earlier this year and began powering 140,000 homes with clean energy.

Unfortunately, their joy translated into gloom for animal rights activists: somewhere between a thousand and 28,000 birds have since been fried to death in what’s been called “massive teepees of doom.”

Right now you’re probably thinking two things: first, tell me more; and secondly, that’s a pretty big range of alleged aviancide… is this truly a PR crisis for solar energy?

Credit goes to Esquire’s Michael Howard for an evocative piece describing how BrightSoure’s $2.2 billion plant is cooking birds alive when they fly through concentrated rays of sunshine:

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: Even GOP Senators Dislike FOX News

tom coburn

Whenever America watches Jon Stewart uncork on President Obama, people immediately think “Damn! Obama must not be doing so well.”

It’s not breaking news, but his approval numbers are low because this is a subject upon which hardcore democrats and republicans can almost agree.

And now, the other side of that coin: the GOP is bashing FOX News.

Meet U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, FOX News Insider and now-former fan who may have just lost a paycheck.

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