As well-documented as Bronwyn Bishop’s #choppergate affair has been, the most enjoyable part has been seeing the creative memes generated by thenewdaily, Daily Mail and singhstation. Thanks all!
MP Andrew Leigh MP launches an online political attack saying that a “median-priced house now costs over $666,000 – that’s more than six times average incomes. Where are all these ‘good jobs’ the Treasurer says will help you pay for that?”
If a picture paints a thousand words, Sydney Morning Herald illustrator Rocco Fazzari brilliantly (look at the shield crest!) summed up the Aussie PM’s predicament (hat tip Rocco for loan of the image). Even over in the UK, scribes are penning the PMs political obituary – but might the out-of-time Tony yet successfully crusade to keep his top job?
The power – and pain – of agenda-driven social media lobbying has curdled (pun 1) the relationship between the Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company and some of its online detractors, specifically Restore Australia. Anti-Islamisation activists have targeted and bombarded the South Australian Fleurieu dairy company in many prominent social media channels; channels that offer unexpurgated commentary and unedited critiques often prove fertile breeding grounds for a culture (pun 2) of brand-bashing and, oftentimes, personally-biased and uninformed venting.
In posting this, my aim is not to defend nor attack either interest in this incident but simply to illustrate a modern PR disaster dynamic; that what starts small online, can snowball into a capital city news report and eventually move onto our national TV news screens. Social media is all about reputation, as well as stakeholder engagement and influence. Hat-tip (pun 3) to Zazzle for the image.
Our PR experience suggests you can pretty much coach and train an intelligent person in media performance skills in around three or four sessions.
However, you cannot instill – far less embed – impeachable character and interpersonal maturity in an “unreconstructed personality”, without also addressing the candidate’s emotional intelligence and self-awareness. And that calls for a much deeper investment of effort.
When almost two years of planning goes into a joint food health initiative and the corresponding public information website gets ORDERED off air ON THE SAME DAY IT GOES LIVE one might expect evidence of stakeholder dissonance.
I caught up with a gripping analysis of the Fiona Nash, AFGC and Alastair Furnival furore courtesy of the Background Briefing team of Anna Whitfield and Ann Arnold at ABC – great case analysis. HT SMH for screengrab.
The Essendon footy club has grabbed the flag at the annual list of PR blunders and gaffes awarded here at PRdisasters.com. After analyzing media monitoring data on sustained and damaging mentions across press, radio, TV and internet sources, the Bombers “performance supplements” saga was easily the year’s most-talked about, and reviled, PR disaster. And in a year where the Cronulla Sharks rugby club plus the sport of swimming were also stained by the stench of scandal, the broader topic of ‘drugs in sport’ created much negative commentary and bad PR.
The Australian PR Disaster Awards – now in their 8th year – highlight the worst examples of business, celebrity, government, media and sports PR blunders. They assess PR problems in both traditional and online media, including social media spaces. To qualify as a PR disaster, the incident must result in sustained, negative media coverage for the brand, business or person at the centre of the story. Here are Australia’s Top 10 PR Disasters of 2013 (biggest disaster first):
1. Essendon supplements scandal – under the direction of controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank, the Bombers were found to have been operating an experimental – possibly illegal – performance supplements programme.
2. Drugs in sport – A year long Australian Crime Commission investigation found widespread drug use in Australian professional sport, with criminal networks being actively involved. At publication, one former ASADA expert dubbed it the “blackest day in Australian sport”.
3. Indonesian relations – Australia’s ‘SBY’ presidential phone-tapping scandal escalated with Tony Abbott’s reticence to apologise and Indonesia reactively downgrading the relationship between the two countries and withdrawing co-operation on people smuggling operations.
4. Waterhouse/Singleton spat – Businessman John Singleton sacked trainer Gai Waterhouse following a clash on live television. After “Singo” claimed skullduggery over the fitness of his beloved horse ‘More Joyous’, a Racing NSW inquiry fined Singleton and saw trainer Gai Waterhouse charged on two counts relating to reporting and record-keeping.
5. Media regulation reform – Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was assailed by many sections of the media over his proposed News Media reforms. Many outlets railed at the mooted, binding, self-regulation scheme that also sought to remove a news organisation’s exemption from some provisions of the Privacy Act.
6. Mining tax repeal – The Abbott government started to repeal Labor’s controversial Minerals Resource Rent Tax from July 2014; by pitching how it would impact on families and small business, major – and conflicting – media coverage for this new policy was secured.
7. Craig Thomson – The saga of allegedly using Health Service Union credit cards to pay for porn and prostitutes rumbled on, revealing avaricious appetites for raunchy films, sexual services, ciggies and cross-country flights and expenses.
8. Collingwood Football Club (re Adam Goodes) –When a young Collingwood fan sledged Adam Goodes with an ape slur, the media meltdown was compounded when Collingwood President Eddie Maguire jokingly alluded to Goodes’ ability to publicise the in-town musical King Kong.
9. Royal Commission into child sexual abuse – As the 2012-established commission researched, interviewed, questioned and challenged institutional representatives from education, religion, sports and state interests, claims of abuser protection and failure to stop the abuse provided media flak for churches and their office bearers.
10. Politician expenses – Not long into office, Tony Abbott encountered his first scandal over his and other politicians’ misuse of entitlements. With four cabinet members – plus the PM – having to repay money for faulty expense claims, the furore also targeted Labor pollies similarly loose with their expense accuracy.
Revelations that Australian intelligence sources may have been bugging SBY and wife’s personal phones, the indignant reactions from the ‘phone tapee’s’, the bungling “all governments gather information” interview by Mr Abbott with the ABC’s dogged Leigh Sales and, most recently, the inopportune twitter-sniping from a political research firm owner, marks this as a PR disaster of national and international import.
When is a Nazi salute not a Nazi salute? Apparently when it’s a ‘Red Hand of Ulster’ salute. While the Aussie army has marched from one PR disaster to another relating to service personnel’s abuse of personal photos, video posted to social media, the British Army (Sah!) have to contend with some provocative poses allegedly featuring British servicemen stationed in Afghanistan.
The irony of British squaddies posing in ways that appear (even erroneously) to endorse the right wing foes their forefathers fought to defeat is at best cruelly ironic and at worse…(you fill out the rhyme).
From a reputation viewpoint, it’s evidence of how the personal beliefs of a minority can easily besmirch the principles and PR profile of a bigger brand or organisation.
(HT to Phil Macgiollabhain for the lead.)
Everyone’s got a breaking point; even PR-aware politicians. In light of Frankston MP Geoff Shaw getting ‘involved’ with agitators in Melbourne, my mind went back to when Brit MP John Prescott jabbed a protestor who’d egg-assaulted him. . So, who might win a fictional bout between Shaw and Prescott, I wonder…?