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PR Fail

Bad PR: Malaysia Airlines ‘Ultimate Bucket List’ Competition

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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

Chipotle Co-CEO Turns His Nose Up at ‘Cheap, Irrelevant’ Fast Food Chains

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It’s difficult to hate on the rollers of the edible fatties, Chipotle. It tastes great, it’s “all natural”, and it’s good for you (as long as you only consume 25% of a given burrito). Even if you didn’t dig the food, the company’s advertising and CSR work is splendid (good work, Edelman).

If anything could possibly damage Chipotle’s sterling reputation, it would be perceived snobbery.

For example: “My food is better than your food. And now, let’s make fun of your diabetes.” Stressing the quality of your ingredients should not be a big deal; Papa John’s Pizza tries to do the same thing.

So guess what happened?

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Pamela Anderson Sort of Ruined the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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For the past couple of months, the ALS foundation has earned more than $70 million thanks to the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.This stunt has become a thing of legend created to raise funds for and awareness of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 

Of course, Hollywood has broken out the flip cams in droves in hopes of getting 15 extra minutes of fame raising the bar and bringing in some coin for a great cause. ALS is getting the attention it deserves regardless of whatever lies in the hearts of these famous folks.

Unfortunately, serial B-lister and anti-fur advocate Pamela Anderson decided to steal the spotlight and make her own cause out of this cause. We wonder whether PETA is proud of this.

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

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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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Walmart’s #PRFail Recognition May Win the Retailer $3 Billion

Aisles of a Grocery StoreIn the wild and wacky world of corporate PR, it seems the larger the brand, the more difficult it becomes to acknowledge mistakes. The more transparent a brand is, the more vulnerable it becomes.

That may explain what takes place in Bentonville, Ark. (the corporate home of Walmart) on a daily basis. Until recently, the brand has seemed only proactive about growth and global domination.

And then, a story in Time came out last April that read: “Walmart has cut employee hours so deeply that it doesn’t have enough associates on hand to get stuff from back-of-the-store staging areas to the shelves.”

That caused Walmart to do something differently — respond. Sure, it’s more than a year later, but they’re new at this thing. Let’s cut them a break.

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Mr. Congeniality Gene Simmons: ‘If You’re Depressed, Just Kill Yourself.’

Kiss Gene SimmonsLast week, the entertainment world stood still as word of Robin Williams‘ death stunned everyone — fans and colleagues alike.

The only party that deviated even slightly from the narrative was Edelman, and they caught a whole lot of flack for it.

And yet you just knew that someone would have to play the bad guy. Just after quitting time on Friday, word broke out about KISS frontman/bass player/shameless self-promoter Gene Simmons and a interview conducted by SongFacts.com‘s Roger Catlin.

Why bring up Williams? During the interview, Simmons shared his thoughts on reality TV, touring with the band, his Arena football team… and clinical depression.

In advance, people have already wished Simmons would just choke on that thing.

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#PRFail: NBC Strikes Out on Meet the Press Announcement

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“Where is the love, the love, the love?”

It was the worst-kept secret in network TV, but after months of speculation NBC finally announced yesterday that Chuck Todd would indeed take over for David Gregory as the host of the Sunday morning coffee gathering known as Meet the Press.

In case you missed it, NBC has a history of mismanaging personnel announcements. Does the name Ann Curry ring a bell?

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5 Pitfalls to Avoid While Newsjacking

waffle-house-belgium-twitterAnyone remember this famous tweet? It happened during Team USA’s run in the World Cup. As you can tell, Waffle House got a little notoriety from that soccer success as well. This act of genius, according to a term coined by the great David Meerman Scott, falls into the “Newsjacking” category.

It has become a social media phenomenon that brands and people alike try to leverage for their benefit…with varying degrees of success.

To summarize, newsjacking is seeing a runaway story or a widely followed trend, riding on its coat-tails in the name of ‘brand awareness,’ and subtly exploiting that story or trend hoping to score exposure. It’s like photobombing an online conversation, and it works well if done properly. Then again, if it doesn’t, your brand will suffer.

Here is the latest 5 things list for your edification…

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Open-Ended Twitter Q&As Are Officially a Terrible Idea

“I knew there was going to be some negativity going into it,” FSU sports information director Elliott Finebloom said regarding the Twitter disaster that was #AskJameis.

Well, yes. Shouldn’t we all know by now — thanks to Robin Thicke, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the NYPD and the Washington whatever-you-want-to-call-thems — that open-ended Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea?

This is especially true when applied to a creepy R&B singer, a generally disliked financial institution or player who earned a great deal of negative attention for FSU thanks to accusations of sexual assault and “stealing $32 of crab legs from a local grocery store.”

There’s no need to post the most incendiary tweets here; you’ve probably already seen some of them.

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