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Ethics

Yelp Going to the Virginia Supreme Court for its Fake Reviews

yelpHaven’t we been here before?

It seems like it was just March 21 when we brought a #PRFail editorial about Yelp and its fake reviews. In the post, we brought three lawsuits to your attention under the premise of Yelp’s plight of “free speech debate” could cause some serious drama for the ubiquitous ratings and reports website.

Whelp, we should have called Vegas because Yelp is in the news about its reviews. You know? Again. And this time, they are visiting the highest court in the land cloaking itself in the warm embrace of the First Amendment. (Well, highest court in Virginia, but you get the point. The s#!t is about to hit the fan.)

Good luck with that…  Read more

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More #McFail: Managers Admit to Stealing Employee’s Money

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They’re baaaaaaaaaack! 

Unfortunately for the Clown, McDonald’s just can’t stay out of the #PRFail spotlight.

When we last left this saga, McDonald’s was accused of kicking some old couple out on their keisters – canes, walkers, and all — for sitting too long. And as shameful as that was, there’s also the open case of slave labor under the veiled threat of deportation because that’s good for team morale.

Next up in the Clown’s PR issues, we have a story of former managers admitting they stole money from their miserly paid employees. This should be good.  Read more

Stephen Colbert Responds to #CancelColbert Controversy As Only He Can

So, in case you missed it, The Colbert Report made fun of somebody via Twitter, and it became a threefold lesson in PR.

The tweet in question poked fun at the the owner of the controversially-named Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, after his ham-handed attempt at shedding positive light on the decidedly non-PC team name by announcing the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

The tweet read, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

In context, it’s a hilarious parody that successfully illuminates Snyder’s poorly-executed attempt at cultural sensitivity; but taken out of context, the statement could obviously be viewed as, well, culturally insensitive.

Therein lay the problem. Read more

OkCupid Blocks Firefox to Protest CEO’s Opposition to Marriage Equality

Anyone who has recently attempted to access dating site OkCupid using a Firefox browser has been greeted with the following message:

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This is a statement that’s pretty hard to miss–not only does it reach every single Firefox user attempting to log in to the dating service, but it calls attention to the inequality in question by literally blocking people from seeking companionship with the same ease and freedom as others.

Read more

Resurrected Celebrities Hawk Everything from Booze to Chocolate: The Creeptastic Trend We Wish Would Stop

The message of celebrity endorsements is, at the heart, quite simple: Eating/drinking/using this product will make you more like your favorite celebrity — charming, successful, popular, and…long dead?

We’ve recently noticed (and been totally creeped out by) a trend of brands resurrecting dead icons to hawk everything from beer to chocolate. While it’s hardly a new phenomenon for marketers to utilize the images of legendary superstars to sell products, advancements in technology (and, apparently, nerve) have allowed advertisers to take the concept to a new, decidedly shiver-inducing level.

The one that jumped out at us the most (i.e. made us actually gawk open-mouthed at our TV and then mutter the non-acronym version of WTF under our breath), was this spot for Dove chocolate, in which Audrey Hepburn is brought back to life by a frighteningly-detailed CGI process.
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What Are America’s Most Ethical Companies for 2014?

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Management consulting firm Ethisphere just released its “Most Ethical Companies” list for 2014. While the firm’s scoring and methodology page explains that this is not a perfectly definitive list, it’s still a group that most everyone would like their clients to join.

Honorees were chosen by an advisory panel tasked with reviewing each company’s compliance record, reputation, internal governance practices, CSR efforts and culture via both self-reported applications and outside research.

The list includes 144 companies from 41 industries around the world. They aren’t all household names, and the list does not rank them or inform the reader as to exactly how each individual business earned the distinction. But we’ve picked a few American companies that stood out to us after the jump, starting with the ones you’ll recognize.

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Holy Sticky Fingers: $600K in Donations Stolen from Lakewood Church

lakewoodWell, it was just a matter of time, right? America’s largest church, Lakewood Church, pastored by the well-coifed Joel Osteen, has been burglarized to the tune of $600,000! Last Sunday, according to the Houston Chronicle, something was afoot in the collections vestibule.

What’s that? Most churches have them. This is the holy of holies where designated church volunteers go to count the tithe for the bank deposit. While there is nothing morally, ethically, or biblically wrong with that, the shenanigans to come out in the news following this normal action were.

The ubiquitous quoted “church leaders” sent all members of Lakewood Church about the “missing” cash, checks, and written credit card statements. While that is responsible to keep church members aware about what’s happening with their donations, many more cynical people are focusing on something else.

Read more

NBC News Continues its Hack Attack Form of Checkbook Journalism Because Ratings

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Ironic what the NBC Interactive Newsroom chose to adorn its wall, huh?

Ratings (n.) — The source of all things monetary in media; The force by which all journalists show their worth the bigwigs in the corner offices; The reason media can suck.

When I was in a newsroom, there was just about nothing I wouldn’t do to get people to listen to what I had to say. Hell, in PR, it’s the same way. I’ll beg, borrow or steal borrow some more to help my clients get what they deserve and help tell their story. However, the people at NBC News, go a skosh past unethical into a whole new realm of paparazzi.

Again…

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New York Observer Editor Hired His Ice Cream Man to Defend Donald Trump

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It’s a tough job defending a guy like Donald Trump, but somebody’s apparently gotta do it. In this case, that somebody is the editor of his son-in-law’s newspaper…and that editor’s ice cream man, Bill Gifford.

You read that right. A communications “standoff” has emerged in the wake of what looks a whole lot like a 7,000 word article doubling as a hit piece on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a defense of The Donald.

ICYMI, Schneiderman just happened to file a 2013 lawsuit against Trump alleging fraud on the part of his real estate “university” seminar—an event whose attendees could, in Trump’s own words, “just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.”

Read more

Man Sues New York Tech Firm for Sexual Harassment

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Today in Unfortunate Headlines news, a former account coordinator at a Manhattan tech PR firm has filed suit against his co-workers and his boss. The legal matter addressed in the suit is (alleged) sexual harassment and its dismissal by company executives.

Sound familiar?

We won’t go into too many details as you can read them in the complaint itself:

We’ll just say it looks like a bit of a mess.

Read more

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