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Posts Tagged ‘Epicurious’

Our 13 Biggest Stories of 2013

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And you can thank PR for that “scoop” too, buddy

This is the second half of our “26 Biggest Stories of 2013″ countdown, so now’s the time to catch up if you missed the first 13.

These stories were strange, funny and even (gasp) controversial! We hope you enjoy re-reading them—or checking them out for the first time—as much as we enjoyed writing them.

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(Most) Brands Avoid PR Fails on MLK ‘Dream Day’

In an honestly surprising turn of events, we’re glad to report that the vast majority of brands avoided any serious embarrassments related to yesterday’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

For the most part, they did it by staying vague. But we can learn from the exception in this case—and our friends in the blog world have collectively named this Golf Channel message the day’s worst:

This tweet is wrongheaded for several reasons, the most blatant being that golf has long been “a famously segregated sport“, especially during Martin Luther King Jr.‘s era. (Yes, Obama plays a lot, but these are different times.) Still, that’s not the biggest problem.

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How Should Brands Respond to Tragedy on Social Media?

Boston!This post was co-written by the author and his wife, Stephanie Coffee

Horrific events that shock and captivate entire nations, superseding all other news—tragedies like the Newtown shooting and last week’s Boston Marathon terror attack—are thankfully rare. And yet, as we all know, social media and the 24/7 cable news cycle have intensified the public’s focus on these national crises and their aftermaths.

Now that the Boston case has been resolved with amazing speed by state and local authorities, we can examine the media response to last week’s events from a PR perspective.

As communications professionals, we know that the public doesn’t just demand (accurate) news as it breaks in times of crisis. They also value reassurances and statements of support from sources they follow on social media—sources that include their favorite brands.

At least one brand has already demonstrated the dangers of an inept response. So what should public entities and the people who manage their accounts do?

What NOT to do: 

  • Don’t tie the event into a promotionEpicurious (which is usually a very good food site) gave us a perfect case study on Monday with its tone-deaf promotional tweet encouraging followers to buy specific Boston-themed products. We won’t go into why it was a terrible idea because that should be painfully obvious. As another example, who can forget Kenneth Cole’s infamous Egypt uprising PR Fail?

PR Fail: Food Website Exploits Boston Tragedy

Why, for the love of all that is decent, human, and empathetic, haven’t brands figured out that it is never okay to exploit a tragedy that irreversibly altered and ended human lives?

In the hot seat for today’s installment of who the hell let this company near a Twitter feed, is food website Epicurious. In the wake of the horrific events at Monday’s Boston Marathon, the company tweeted this to its 385,000 followers:

As a lifetime Massachusetts resident, I was particularly appalled and offended by this gross, clumsy, and unfathomably insensitive attempt at self-promotion. The suggestion that a recipe for cranberry scones or a bowl of cereal could somehow alleviate the sense of fear and loss that swept Boston, Massachusetts, and the country after the explosions would be laughable if it weren’t so terrible.

And then, instead of making real, human apologies or taking any meaningful steps to backtrack or make up for their offense, Epicurious chose to simply tweet the same cookie-cutter mea culpa over and over again: Read more