Australia's biggest PR disasters – top 10 announced

The Qantas A380 engine blast has been named the worst Australian PR disaster of 2010, in the annual PR Disasters Awards by PR watchdog and blogsite The Awards highlights the worst examples of business, celebrity, government, media and sports gaffes. For the very first time, the results have been processed to include PR disasters in both traditional and online media, including social media spaces. This year, our Public Relations Disasters blog partnered with online and social media monitoring agency Cyber Chatter to run, analyse and calculate Australia’s biggest PR blunders, using world-leading Alterian SM2 technology. Here are Australia’s Top 10 PR Disasters for 2010 (biggest disaster first):
1. Qantas – A380 fleet consecutive engine issues and passenger delays
2. Commonwealth Bank – premium interest rate hikes
3. Labor Party – corporate backlash against the proposed ‘super tax’
4. Melbourne Storm – salary cap scandal
5. Stephanie Rice – homophobic comments posted via Twitter
6. Canberra Raiders – Joel Monaghan ‘dog sex’ photo
7. Virgin Blue – reservations and check-in system crash
8. Matthew Newton – after alleged assault of then partner Rachel Taylor in Italy
9. David Jones – CEO sexual assault scandal
10. Lara Bingle – media relations following split with Michael Clark

Gerry McCusker commented:
“We’re seeing that social media is increasingly influencing the impact and duration of PR disasters. As citizen media clearly aids commentary and sharing of bad news stories, it’s essential to have strategies to cope with online sniping and gossip that affects your reputation.”

3 thoughts on “Australia's biggest PR disasters – top 10 announced

  1. Don’t know how you missed the biggest PR blunder of the year — News Ltd’s decision to fight the Bruce Guthrie suit over his wrongful dismissal. Not only were two of the company’s most senior execs torn to pieces in the witness box, with their honesty questioned by the judge, but it also provided a window on a corporate culture that dominates most of Australia’s media and evidently works on knife-and-suck philosphy: Stab your enemies in the back, suck up to mates higher up the ladder.

    And then, to compound that initial gaffe, Guthrie publishes a book that keeps right on dumping on News Ltd … and dumping … and dumping.

    Oh, and because of the decision to fight in court, Rupert’s sister ends up all over rival newspapers’ front pages. That’s not the way to get ahead at News Ltd. Expect several major management changes over the next coupla months.


  2. It’s not an Australian one, but as a political junkie, I couldn’t go past the doorstop during the UK election campaign with a Labour voter who then turned and gave UK PM Gordon Brown a serve for how his party has abandoned its party faithful. That was bad enough, but when he hopped in his car to leave he was caught on tape saying that she was an ‘bigoted old women’



  3. Thanks Mike. We’re working on a global PR gaffe analysis including the Brown ‘off mike’ comment; stay tuned.
    Thanks George; the Guthrie case was an interesting PR blunder, but not sure it had the extent, level of commentary and traction of the other big name gaffes.


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