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Crisis Communications

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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Mike Ditka on Daniel Snyder’s PR Problem: ‘What’s All the Stink?’

Football Pro NFC  Games 1984 Devision Playoff

Funny how he’s looking away from this Redskins situation too.

Some people are celebrated for their lack of — or complete disregard for — a filter. If you want a true opinion, one without all the flowery crap, just holler at people like Donald Trump, Rosie O’Donnell, Sophia from The Golden Girls, or any uptown socialite with a little booze intake.

The NFL has someone like that: Hall of Famer, beloved coach and current ESPN broadcaster (for now) Mike Ditka.

For many months, people have stepped to one side or the other regarding whether the Washington football team needs to change its mascot. Some believe it is a regaled tradition in the NFL and that changing that mascot would be criminal. Others take a more human interest angle, arguing that the act of calling someone a “Redskin” is bad enough to warrant a change.

Guess which side ‘Da’ Bears’ coach is on…

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Ferguson, MO Hires Common Ground Public Relations

Ferguson, MO, the town that is roiling with protests and racial strife after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of the police, has hired a PR firm, Common Ground Public Relations for communications help.

In comments to Talking Points Memo, Nina Kult, a Common Ground rep, makes it abundantly clear that the firm is only handling the deluge of media requests that the city has been getting since protests began about a week ago. Or at least that’s all they’ll talk about.

“We’re just handling media relations as of very recently and that’s really all we’re doing. We’re just handling media queries and that’s all I can really say right now,” Kult is quoted saying.

Chances are, the number of media inquiries is more than the city has ever had to deal with. A suburb of St. Louis, the town is now basically the subject of round-the-clock coverage on major outlets, including MSNBC, The New York Times and The Huffington Post.

Continuing with the close scrutiny of all the goings on, TPM notes that the Common Ground’s “Meet The Team” page is populated by an entirely White staff. Oh geez.

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Ashley McCown Runs Down 2014′s Biggest Crises to Date

It’s time for another rundown of the worst offenders in 2014′s PR Crisis Sweepstakes.

In this exclusive clip, Solomon McCown president Ashley McCown runs down the ones you know: GM’s self-made safety nightmare; Donald Sterling’s racist breakdown; Malaysia Airlines dual tragedies.

We’re most interested in the #1 crisis — the one surrounding Boston’s Market Basket and the family disputes that led the company to fire popular president Arthur T. Demoulas.

The company’s board meets today, with New Hampshire/Massachusetts governors Maggie Hassan Deval Patrick attempting to broker a cease-fire of sorts in the interest of avoiding all unnecessary drama.

How do you think the dispute will resolve itself?

Why the Redskins Lost PR Points by Hiring Burson-Marsteller

redskins_facepalmFULL DISCLOSURE: I am a proud former Burson employee.

That said, the Washington Redskins lost whatever integrity they had left when they hired Burson-Marsteller yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, the hire made sense. If B-M is known for anything, it is a powerful one-two combination of public affairs and crisis communications.

Those are two things that team and its thick-headed owner sorely need.

The problem is that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder didn’t hire them to help his football team do the admirable thing. He hired B-M to help his team continue to do the wrong thing.

And there goes his credibility, swirling down the drain.

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Comcast Cries Mea Culpa on ‘Hellish’ Service Call…But Does It Make a Difference?

bad customer service comcast

Comcast pissed off the wrong customer last week when it botched a service call with Ryan Block, former editor of the tech site Engadget and product developer at AOL.

NPR called it “condescending“; Gawker called it “hellish“; The Verge called it “a nightmare“; Yahoo called it “terrorizing.”

As fellow PRNewser Shawn Paul Wood posted earlier, “flacks who enjoy the various #PRFail called it ‘priceless’”. In case you missed it, you can hear what went down at the link: Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever. ”

A week later, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Dave Watson calls it “typical”, saying the incident was “painful to listen to” but that the rep “did a lot of what we trained him…to do.”

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Malaysia Airlines Responds with Caution to #MH17 Tragedy in Ukraine

malaysia-airlinesMalaysia Airlines has now made headlines twice in recent months for horrific tragedies.

The company’s reputation took an expected hit during the ongoing narrative regarding flight MH370. The bad news culminated with a story about a text message sent to family members of the missing, and that story was amplified by several slightly misleading media reports that drove the larger narrative.

The company signed with Ketchum several days after the flight went missing. Its response to this tragedy closely mirrors its all-media response to the MH370 disappearance–yet the newer story is also very different in several key ways.

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Levick, Goodluck Jonathan Face Twitter Upheaval in Nigeria

Washington, D.C.’s Levick encountered a bit of a backlash from some Nigerian tweeters this week.

Some citizens of the West African country apparently take issue with its government’s decision to hire the firm, which came in order to downplay some of the very negative media attention regarding the Islamist group Boko Harem, which recently kidnapped more than 250 high school girls and inspired the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag.

Coincidentally, last week saw activist (and Edelman client) Malala Yousafzai meet with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in one of his most widely publicized attempts to address the crisis.

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Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever

comcast

There is no secret, no hidden truth, no mystery on this planet that refutes the abysmal customer service that call centers at cable companies provide. It’s like they all hire from the same discount store that shuttles HR rejects from the hotel.

The proposed Comcast and Time Warner merger? That’s a utopia of pleasantry just waiting for America (and one of those brands may vanish this year).  You would think the powers-that-don’t at Comcast would appreciate public perception.

Not when gems like this call to cancel service, which should serve as a crisis communications starter kit. (Oh, please take time to listen to these 10 minutes of bliss.)

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7-Eleven’s Birthday Week Thwarted Because of New App Glitch, Makes It Right All Month Long

slurpees

ICYMI: these glorious sugary rainbows of greatness were being given away 12 ounces at a time on July 11. Free. (Get it? 7 [July] 11?)

It’s been a tradition since 2002 that anyone can waltz inside a local 7/11, grab a small 12 oz. cup, and fill up on this sweet elixir of Texas love (born here, based here, y’all). This year, something went awry when 7-Eleven attempted to bring more technology to the mix. For months, the convenience empire has been promoting its fun little ‘Only at 7-Eleven’ app. When you download it, you would benefit from push-text offers sent exclusively to your phone.

Only, that didn’t happen for some folks, and America went nuts.

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