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Crisis Communications

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

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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

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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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Whole Foods Is Getting Hit By Hobby Lobby In An Unexpected Way

whole foods signSometimes, a brand can get hit with a controversy that they didn’t even know they were involved with. Surely, that must be what Whole Foods is thinking.

Usually involved with issues surrounding food and the prices at their shops, it’s likely they didn’t have a crisis plan in place for the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which made it OK for employers to determine whether or not to offer contraception coverage. The company itself has no plans of discontinuing the coverage. However, one of the brands they carry, Eden Foods, is trying to opt out of the coverage. And now there’s a petition against Whole Foods with 12,500 names, demanding that they stop selling Eden Foods products. According to The Daily Beast, the company is one of 82 trying to discontinue the coverage.

“While individual-level boycotting of Eden Foods may not have much of an impact, telling Whole Foods to stop carrying Eden Foods’ products in their stores around the nation should have a much bigger effect. Let’s seek out the best messenger to send this message to Eden Foods- and in this case, Whole Foods seems like the perfect fit,” reads the petition.

We can all just imagine the looks on faces of the Whole Foods publicists when they saw this.

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Sears, Walmart Apologize for Selling Nazi Poster (No Comment from Amazon)

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Today we learned that three of the country’s largest online retailers do not effectively screen the products they offer for evidence of Nazism.

On Monday, Digiday reported on the news (first broken by Heeb last week) that Walmart‘s online store offered shoppers a poster featuring an image of the gate at Dachau concentration camp, which was the very first opened by the German government to hold political prisoners in 1933 (and at which tens of thousands of innocent people died). The fact that the saying on the gate reads “work makes you free” is especially perverse.

Further searches revealed that Amazon and Sears also featured the item online. Their excuse? The dreaded “third party vendor.”

Let’s compare their statements.

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Can We Talk? Joan Rivers Calls President ‘Gay,’ First Lady ‘a Tranny’

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For more than 50 years, Joan Rivers has been considered the female Don Rickles — a compliment of the highest order. She has insulted everyone with wit, humor, and dazzling banter. However, that was the younger Joan Rivers. Today, she’s not so much funny, as just a fake plastic individual in Hollywood that doesn’t know when to give it up.

And now, the octogenarian comedienne may have just told her last joke and discussed her last arrest with the “Fashion Police.” Why? You don’t get to call the President of the United States “gay.” Moreover, his wife a “tranny.” Yeah, not even plastic surgery will save you from this one, Joan.

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American Apparel Mistakes Challenger Explosion for Fireworks

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The home of “smediums” and tasteless advertising should just reconsider talking to the public

While you were stumbling between the cooler full of adult beverages and your lawn chair, something pretty awful and all-the-more stupid happened — American Apparel posted a picture of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding.

WHY?! It was placed (and long since deleted) on the corporate Tumblr account accompanied by the hashtags #smoke and #clouds because July 4 pictures are a thing. More about that decision after the jump…

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Mary Barra Tells Matt Lauer: No Cover-Up at GM

Mary Barra sat down with Matt Lauer this morning on TODAY, and we think you’ll agree that the questions he lobbed her way were a bit softer than those she received from Congress earlier this month.

At the very least, she’s consistent with the message. That’s a good thing, because she’ll have to repeat it many more times before GM can move beyond this story.

What do we think of her appearance?

Walmart Comms VP ‘Fact Checks’ The New York Times

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The purpose of New York Times writer Timothy Egan’s op-ed on income inequality last week was to highlight the inability of our political parties and corporate entities to reach agreement on the best ways to help the millions of working Americans who struggle to provide themselves and their families with the basics.

Egan unsurprisingly singled out two names for blame: the Republican Party and Walmart.

David Tovar, sometime PRSA speaker and VP of corporate communications at the retailer, decided to respond in blog form–and he got a bit cattier than expected. His intro:

“Tim – Thanks for sharing your first draft. Below are a few thoughts to insure something inaccurate doesn’t get published. Hope this helps. – WMT”

Well, then. Full red-ink revision after the jump.

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