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Posts Tagged ‘pr fail’

Kenneth Cole Says Controversial Tweets Are Great for Business

One man’s PR fail is another man’s business plan…if that other man happens to be “designer with a conscience“ Kenneth Cole.

In case you thought some clueless intern was responsible for what seemed like a tactless marketing message playing off the possibility of war in Syria, you’re wrong: Cole writes these controversial tweets himself, and he does it all on purpose. Cue maniacal laugh.

When the designer responded to his latest manufactured controversy by stating that he intended to start a dialogue, he apparently meant “dialogue” as in “a conversation that will help promote my own company.”

So…the joke’s on you!

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PR Fail: Kenneth Cole Still Thinks War Is A Funny Promo Gimmick

We have no idea who’s in charge of the Kenneth Cole Twitter feed, but they clearly haven’t learned that the prospect of armed conflict isn’t a good tool for selling clothing.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing that really gets us: It’s been, as of this post, about three hours (and many outraged responses) since the tweet went live. No deletion, no apology, no follow-up explanation. And, given the flack the Kenneth Cole received for this equally tone-deaf 2011 tweet about Egypt, we have to wonder if its social media managers are toying with us here. Seriously. Tell us we’re wrong.

Was This the First Time a Customer Purchased a Tweet to Call Out a Brand?

Looks like we already have this week’s biggest PR fail: a traveler was so upset about British Airways losing his luggage that he paid to promote a tweet to all the brand’s followers letting them know how unpleasant his experience had been.

“Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.”

This is an unprecedented story, so it quickly spread across the web via Mashable and inspired CNN to interview disgruntled customer Hasan Syed, who started getting attention several hours before BA’s customer service reps even responded.

Pretty much every media outlet around has already run this story today because it is amazing, but we have to ask: will it change the way customer service works on social?

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Dunkin’ Donuts Didn’t Look So Great in Blackface

Well, then: welcome back to the grind. We hope your hangover isn’t too harsh—and if it is you can just chug some Pedialyte.

So what happened over the long weekend? To start it all off, Dunkin’ Donuts hung its head and apologized for August’s biggest facepalm moment, a “bizarre and racist” ad starring an actress in blackface. This story makes a little more sense when you consider the fact that the spot ran in Thaliand, where CEOs and creative departments are all apparently a little loopy (and racist).

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Internet to Dr. Phil: It’s Not OK to Ask Whether It’s OK to ‘Have Sex With’ a Drunk Girl

Today in We Blame Oprah news: last night the Twitter account of one “Dr. Phil” McGraw (who had his license to practice psychiatry “retired” back in 1989 and is therefore not a licensed psychiatrist or any other kind of medical professional) asked its 1.2 million followers what we in The Real World(TM) might call “a loaded and incredibly offensive question“:

Now, sensible readers, we can scan such a message and realize how inappropriate and even disturbing it is. Yet someone approved it, and we have to imagine that at least one member of the honorable non-doctor’s PR team will soon find him or herself “escorted from the building.”

Twitter being the digital Ritalin that it is, #DrPhilQuestions responses were quick and brutal:

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Failed PR 101

Today in CEOs Behaving Badly: We understand why AOL chief Tim Armstrong was a little upset at the unfortunate struggles of Patch, his well-meaning $300 million experiment in hyper-local news content. He promised AOL that the venture would turn a profit by year’s end, and in order to bring this about he seemingly had no choice but to fire hundreds of the writers, editors, and managers at more than 400 individual Patch sites around the country.

But this hardly excuses the commission of a cardinal PR sin: letting his temper get away with him during a 1,000-strong conference call and firing an employee for taking a photo during his speech. It was mild as outbursts go, but it was recorded for the ages and distributed to every media outlet around.

This wasn’t just any employee, by the way; it was Patch’s creative director Abel Lenz. The fact that such a Trump-worthy incident was terrible PR should be obvious to all, but we’ll go into a bit more detail:

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PR Fail: Report Names ‘America’s Worst Charities’

For about 70 cents, you can buy a soda (regular or diet)...

For about 70 cents, you can buy a soda (regular or diet)…

No industry relies more heavily on the public’s good will than the non-profit sector, which ostensibly exists for the sole purpose of serving the greater good. For this reason, inflammatory reports about how some of America’s biggest charities spend their money present professional and ethical challenges for crisis comms experts.

50 foundations around the country desperately need some good PR right now after a joint project by the Tampa Bay Times, CNN, and The Center for Investigative Reporting named them among the worst in the country for doing little beyond “turn[ing] donations into profit.”

The saddest part about this story is the fact that most of the groups on the list claim to support children, veterans, cancer victims, and public servants like cops and state troopers. We’d like to think that Americans will be quick to punish any charity suspected of exploiting sick kids.

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How Should Applebee’s Respond to Its Ongoing PR Crisis?

In case you haven’t heard, quite a few people on the Internet are upset at Applebee’s right now for its actions in the tale of the obnoxiously self-righteous customer. After the story blew up, the company went strangely silent on social media, but on Friday its PR team got pro-active, releasing an official statement from the company president and choosing Facebook as the best forum in which to respond.

There’s a reason for this: Ad Week recently named Applebee’s as the most “socially devoted” restaurant brand on Facebook. But this story has proven to be its greatest social media challenge: “What’s the Buzz”, a homepage feature showcasing tweets about the brand in real-time, has been overwhelmingly negative for the past few days.

The new damage control effort began with this post:

The message goes on to clarify that the fired server violated company policy by publicly sharing a receipt on which the customer’s name was visible, thereby compromising her privacy (they added that the customer’s party did in fact pay the 18% gratuity required). Since then, the post has inspired almost 25,000 comments.

This crisis is not over.

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Florida Gov Bought a Rescue Dog for His Campaign, Then Replaced It

Politics is a slick business. We know this, you know this…everybody knows this. But a little bit of investigative reporting by the Tampa Bay Times that exposed a few poorly planned moves on behalf of Florida governor Rick Scott reveals the kind of weird PR that we’ve unfortunately come to expect from our elected officials.

Mr. Scott wanted to improve his image in the eyes of Florida voters during his gubernatorial campaign, so he bought a rescued Labrador retriever. After he won the election, he did what any responsible dog-lover would do: he returned the lab to its previous owner. Wait, what?

Scott didn’t just buy the dog:

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PR Win: Gibson Replaces Guitar Destroyed on Delta Flight

Gibson GuitarsAs proud amateur musicians, we understand the importance of a treasured instrument–especially a premium electric guitar worth thousands of dollars.

Today we came across the story of a musician who nearly lost his six-string in transit and experienced two completely opposite reactions from the brands involved: Delta Airlines and Gibson Guitars. Can you guess who comes out looking better in this case?

Dave Schneider, who fronts a couple of bands we don’t think we’ve ever heard, always carried his 1965 Gibson (estimated value $10,000) onboard when flying because he didn’t trust others to handle it–and he was right to be worried. When Delta employees forced him to check it on a flight from Buffalo, New York to Detroit, he got paranoid and started filming with his iPhone as soon as the plane landed.

As you’ll see from this video, the guitar got stuck in an elevator at the airport, destroying the case and seriously damaging the instrument inside. Bad news.

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