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PR Fail

#PRFail: Watch America Teach FOX News About ‘Gender-Neutral’ Restrooms

fox news lgbt bathrooms

Recently, Illinois State University created “Gender-Neutral Restrooms” to help serve the LGBT community. A nice move by the institution to be more accommodating; however, FOX News took a little umbrage with this.

Essentially, the re-labeling would change several of its single-stall “family” restrooms on campus as “all-gender” restrooms. No new toilets. No new seating. Just the sign, which takes a while to get used to viewing. Here’s the initial report of the news…and then the unfortunate #PRFail follow-up after the jump.

(NOTE: FOX News anchor Heather Nauert incorrectly says the university is Indiana State.)

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Kate Hudson Can Thank the Edit Team for This PR Fail

instyle_kate_hudson_tallGood PR is tough work: its often thankless hours are usually spent for another’s glory. There’s the client’s win, of course, but also bragging rights for the journo or outlet that snatched the juicy cover story from its competitors.

We don’t need the credit, but perhaps a little respect for our craft would be nice.

PRNewsers, consider the following situation and ask yourself how a seasoned publicist would have handled it differently.

InStyle ran a cover story about Kate Hudson in its July issue without plugging her new release. Definitely an “oops!” for InStyle, which counts on maintaining good relationships with the celebrity publicists who bring them their cover stars, but was it an “oops!” that demanded a correction?

As reported by AdAge, InStyle’s editors thought so:

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American Apparel Mistakes Challenger Explosion for Fireworks

AmericanApparel_Frank

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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CNN Reaches for Ratings By Asking America to Deport One of Its Own

jose antonio vargasMeet Jose Antonio Vargas

This guy is one of the most brazen reporters today. Why? He has courage and temerity to do what few others of his ilk would even consider — he is willing to sacrifice his own residence in America for a greater cause.

As you can see from the picture above, he added to the “Dear God, give us ratings but really not a bad idea” juggernaut of the newly minted CNN FilmsDocumented.” In this amazing documentary, Vargas discloses even more details about living as an undocumented American journalist. More so, because in 2011, he put his stamp on the national immigration debate in The New York Times. 

And for his reward, CNN asked Twitter to deport him. Yes, really.

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Twitter (Finally) Calls Robin Thicke a Douchebag

DOUCHEBAG

Ok, I can hear you now.

Yesterday Robin Thicke learned the same lesson that has already turned JPMorgan and Roger Goodell into prime case studies for the ages: Twitter chats pretty much never go well, especially when the fruit at the center of the conversation hangs so very, very low.

This one was so bad that it led journalists all over the country to devote their mornings to locating Mr. Thicke’s most embarrassing stock photos.

How did we do?

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BET Awards to Lionel Richie: ‘Say You, Say… Who?!’

lionel richie good

ICYMI (and by the look of the national ratings, you did), the BET Awards have come and gone. At the annual affair, the once-all-music channel gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to the inimitable Lionel Richie.

To the kids in PRNewser-ville, the guy is so much more than the father of that girl who was BFF to a hotel heiress. This is a man that has been sangin’ his tail off since he was the lead vocalist of The Commodores in the 70s.

“Easy,” “Still,” “Brick House,” “Three Times a Lady,” “Zoom,” and so much more to make your mix tape the bomb (dot) com. Lionel is a legend in music. Seriously fabled if you consider the hits he has written. And to honor that amazing career, BET did this… 

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#PRFail: Honda Falls Asleep at the Wheel Joking About Narcolepsy

narcolepsy hondaI could write about this in our mediabistro sister blog over at AgencySpy, but why? This is such a #PRFail! This all comes down to a car company and the ineptitude to learn something — say about “narcolepsy.” Allow me:

nar-co-lep-sy /ˈnärkəˌlepsē/ (n.) 

A serious condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings

So, there’s this up-and-coming car manufacturer named Honda. Someone in the advertising agency or in-house decided it was time to promote the “All-New 2015 Fit” with a commercial called Synth and Seattleites. 

And then, they poked fun at narcolepsy. To wit, Honda got run over by a bunch of people they apparently didn’t know existed. You know? Like the chupacabra, Bigfoot, and unicorns, only much meaner.

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FAFSA Cracked An Awful Twitter Joke About Financial Aid Applicants Being Broke

Nobody told FAFSA they had to be funny. All they have to do is encourage college students to apply for financial aid, make sure they get information into the right hands and generally be nice to stressed out parents and co-eds who are confused and overwhelmed. But no. FAFSA got on the Twitters to make a joke and got their asses handed to them because they are FAFSA and not Dave Chappelle. Read more

Rep Demands That Editor Credit Staff for Press Release

Today the always-excellent Jim Romenesko discovered evidence of a big PR no-no in action. Seems that a five-paragraph story in the Jacksonville Daily Record may have borne some resemblance to the two-page press release accompanying the initial pitch–and whoever sent it thought that the team responsible deserved a little more credit.

Here’s the exchange as reprinted on Facebook by editor Marilyn Young, who hasn’t seen this sort of thing during more than three decades in the industry.

Romeneskoyoung

“Plagiarism” seems like an odd charge for regurgitating a press release, no?

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#PRFail: Microsoft Offers To Pay TechCrunch Founder To Promote Internet Explorer

Microsoft-Logo-square

Today in not-exactly-breaking news: Microsoft Internet Explorer lags well behind both Chrome and Firefox when it comes to overall browser usage (though they’re still ahead of Safari and Opera, whatever that is).

This week, the company “accidentally” committed a big PR no-no in its latest attempt to promote the browser; a “vendor” offered to pay TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington to write a post hyping the “reworked” version of the product.

Arrington responded with a post on UnCrunched expressing his disbelief: “do people still do this?”

Apparently so.

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