Aussie Ad Agency creates social media PR disaster

Here’s a guest post by Peter Hawkins of Tribe Count on the George Patts/Defence Force social media bungle; I saw Peter’s comments on a recent Mumbrella story, and thought he made good sense while many Ad types overlooked the PR implications and impressions, preferring to brush the issue aside. Peter writes:

“GPY&R recently found themselves in the middle of a PR meltdown when a News Ltd paper investigated the online behaviour of members of its social media team.  The agency had been charged with reviewing the social media policy of the Australian Defence Force ( ADF)  after a recruit secretly filmed himself having sex with a fellow trainee and airing it to colleagues via Skype. The News Ltd article and the prime time television news bulletins that followed highlighted comments the social media team had made on Twitter and on their own blogs. The agency’s Facebook page also features images from a drunken staff party and provides links to the Facebook and Twitter accounts of staff, including the social media manager. The episode raises several issues.  Firstly, the need for every  organization to put in place staff policy on social media activity  that protects the company’s image and reputation. Continue reading

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Aussie PR hires actresses to fake a news story

Aussie PR Jothy Hughes has created a PR disaster that should sound the death knell for his PR career. Dumb-as-you-could-imagine and deeply-duplicitous, Jothy briefed a model agency to find actresses who’d pretend to be profiteering widows selling their marital gold at jewellery parties (for his client Gold Parties Australia). Despite hollow claims of “I made a mistake…”, Hughes is a former PRIA member, so well knows PR right from wrong.

Ta 2 Mumbrella as source.

Hill & Knowlton Aussie GM slates client biz via Twitter

A marketer who jumped into a senior PR role 10 months ago seems to have displayed what might be described as a “lack of stakeholder awareness”. Mumbrella reports that H&K’s Fergus Kibble questioned the validity of a client-related business activity; not just once, but several times over a few weeks. Being skilled repu mgmt experts, H&K seems to have hunkered down; Fergus has blocked off his Twitter account, the CEO is not available and when chased by a Mumbrella sleuth, Dr Mumbo was told the entire PR team (for the related account) was out. Blog commentary seems divided whether Fergy did anything wrong.

Mumbo reports: “Ironically, last September Kibble gave a presentation on the best ways for brands to use Twitter in which he told delegates”: “In this space in particular we tend to go towards the negative that something terrible’s going to happen, but also really good things can happen as well.”

Worst PR disasters 2009 – call for entries

Yep, after a lifetime of near-saintly posturing, Tiger W has decided that he wants to win the marketing industry’s most inglorious prize; this site’s annual PR Disaster award. But the man who patently put the wood in Woods faces some stiff competition from a whole host of PR peckerheads including:

Domino’s staff sandwich-making antics; Hey Hey It’s Saturday blackface act; Renault’s Grand Prix fixing fiasco; Aussie Liberals’ Ute-Gate gaffe; Southern Star Observation wheel buckling; Washington Post’s cash-for-influence dinners; UK PM Gordon Brown’s condolence letter; Kraft iSnack 2.0 (the PR disaster that never was); United Airlines Broke My Guitar; Habitat’s Iran Twitter tag; car hire firm NZCRS pursuing dead people’s family on car hire charges; Climate Gate leaked emails; UK MP’s ongoing expenses embarrassment.

What’s your favourite? What’ve I missed? And in case you’re miffed I haven’t hyperlinked all these sources, I will when I can get a break from some urgent client deadlines

PR disaster for journalism, as YesMen hijack Chamber of Commerce brand

(From HuffPost) Reputation hijackers, The Yes Men, have taken credit for a prank in which they posed as Chamber of Commerce officials pushing for comprehensive climate change legislation.  Pretending to be the business lobby, the YesMen hosted a fake news conference at the National Press Club (hoodwinked or what!!) announcing a “dramatic” shift in its position on climate change. After a fake press release and media event note was sent out, Reuters, Fox and CNBC were all, it seems, initially duped by the fake PR stunt.

Republicans and lobbyists – familiar bedfellows

The LA Times reports on a PR disaster where a Republican assemblyman is caught making sexual boasts about his dalliances with 2 women, not realising he was being videotaped and recorded. One of the lobbyists is thought to work for a major utility firm and, as Duvall discloses accidentally, wears little “eye-patch underwear”. Noice comment Mike, eh!!! And apparently lobbyists sleeping with politicians is not uncommon in Calif as the following quote suggests: “The use of sexual favors is just one more example of the tactics that energy companies and lobbyists have used to win favorable laws from lawmakers,” said Kathay Feng, president of California Common Cause. Well PRs in Oz; do you have any tales of strange bedfellows downunder (geddit, geddit??)

Sectarian SMS's and a brewing PR disaster

I HAVE JUST AMENDED THIS STORY AS FRESH INFORMATION HAS COME TO LIGHT.

Police are investigating allegations that a Scottish Labour candidate was subjected to sectarian abuse by a text message sent by a PR adviser and lobbyist. The messages – repeating a line from the Famine song which was recently ruled by Scottish law lords to be racist because pillories people of Irish descent whose ancestors came to Britain to escape the potato famine which began in 1845 – were allegedly sent from a mobile telephone number belonging to a Scottish PR-cum-lobbyist. Continue reading