PR Disaster Awards – nominations and data flowing in

Have we missed anything you thought was a public relations gaffe in Australia this year?

Here are some of the PR blunders jostling for 2015’s PR disaster accolade. The initial data is in but we’re still crunching numbers and processing sentiment before we decide the year’s biggest blunder. Whatcha think?

7-Eleven staff low wages fiasco

Australia Border Force; ‘clumsy’ press release

Belle Gibson – blogger who cured her own cancer

Bernard Tomic Miami arrest

Bill Shorten union Commission

Bronwyn Bishop choppergate scandal

Joe Hockey – get a good job that pays good money

Nick Kyrgios

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Woolworths ‘Lest We Forget’

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7-Eleven ambushed in slow-motion by aggrieved stakeholders

 

7-Eleven logo

With ABC Four Corners, Arbitrator Michael Fraser, a class action lawyer, FairWork Australia, Alan Fels (ex-ACCC), a cohort of highly sympathetic and apparently disadvantaged ex-staffers (plus a changeorg petition) lining up to ruin their reputation (a process of over 18months it seems) , my only query from a PR disaster and reputation “good call/bad call” viewpoint is; “Why did it take them so long to intercept and try to clean up the issue, far less issue any PR messaging on the topic?”

It’s like giving Man Utd 3 goals of a start and hoping to score 4 in the second half.

Yet while hubris is no asset to PR, will it really cause a significant change in the purchase habits of convenience shoppers in a country that’s somewhat insensitive to race disadvantage? Stay tuned…

 

 

Clumsy media release causes PR disaster for Border Force

“ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with…”

This is the ABF media statement (below) which saw civil (kinda) rights protesters gridlock parts of Melbourne’s CBD today. As a stakeholder engagement piece it was stupendously successful – not only were parts of the statement provocative and “Orwellian” (h/t protester sound bite) but it also directed anti-AFB activists where to congregate to spoil the (media) party. It’s also the first time I’ve queried the wisdom/value of equipping media releases with ‘social share’ buttons (foot of page). This facility possibly enabled protesters to quickly share and amass their forces to disrupt the inter-agency “initiative”. As many PRs on the planet will be musing…there but for the grace of God go I…

Bordfer Force PR disaster

Treasurer Hockey pays for his cheap advice

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?”

Treasurer Joe quickly became the subject of a social media backlash

Treasurer Joe quickly became the subject of a social media backlash

McIntyre’s PR disaster tweets played the man, more than the ball

Twitter Twit
As an avid football fan, I’ve sampled ex-SBS reporter Scott McIntyre’s contributions and musings on the world game; he struck me as a decent researcher and succinct communicator.
In respect to his recent controversial, non-football microbloggings, his PR, career and reputational issues bled out of two of them in particular.
In both cases McIntyre did what he would surely recognise as a football no-no; he played the man not the ball: Continue reading

Can substance abuse cause PR disasters?

I wonder if golfer Robert Allenby, or NRL players John Sutton and Luke Burgess can somewhat identify with this theory? I have analysed PR disasters from every angle and it has become all too apparent that:

drink and drugs play a significant part in adversely affecting behaviour;                  catalysing embarrassing or painful incidents;                                                                      leading to shame-based denials and excuses;                                                                  delivering high levels or scepticism and thereafter;                                                            scandal plus reduced levels of public trust and respect?

The one-time abuser or inveterate addict alike, will deny, lie or vilify anyone else, rather than come clean about how they have little or no control after imbibing poison that compels them to behave irrationally or inappropriately.