Weiner's Twitter gaffe lives again in Ad campaign

You know your PR disaster’s gonna live forever when marketers start using your misfortune as marketing leverage. Cutting communicators at Spirit Airlines have a Weiner Sale – too hard to resist. And they’ve also “confirm(ed) with certitude that the photo is in fact our weiner. The ad is ours, and we sent it.” Hat-tip to Gothamist. http://gothamist.com/2011/06/07/come_fly_with_spirit_airlines_too_h.php

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

Reputation2.0 and Ricky Nixon's latest PR disaster

If you’ve ever pondered what it’d be like to watch someone publicly hang themselves, then cut free just before the final, fatal asphixiation, only to give an encore petard-hoisting the following day, then Channel 7’s ‘Sunday’ night interview with AFL leper Ricky Nixon provided a comparably grisly spectacle. Instead of the ‘3 R’s’ stock-in-trade of crisis management – Regret, Responsibility and Remedial action, Nixon opted to Refute, Recriminate and Retaliate.
During the vilified footy entrepreneur’s latest, most clumsy – and to date implosive – attempt at PR redemption, there were lessons aplenty for the modern celebrity, politician, public figure and even corporation. Clearly visible lessons included:

  • Don’t do media interviews when you’re tired or easily provoked to irritation or anger
  • Don’t give interviews when you can’t master your ego and emotions or mask your simmering aggression, disdain or sense of hurt and injustice Continue reading

Davenport's "Ape" email only reveals primitive prejudices

Via Ragan, news that a US Tea Party supporter sent an email depicting President Obama as a baby monkey. Clearly the pathetic racist slur says more about the immaturity and hatred that thrives in the sender – Marilyn Davenport, Orange County – than the intended object of her bile. As for her jenny-come-lately attempt at an apology; it has PR pressure – not authenticity – written all over it. Let’s hope this is a PR disaster for Davenport’s career.

No Army policy/practices to manage PR disasters created by social media

The Australian Defence Force is buckling under the weight of several horrific PR disasters caused by its ’employee’ abuse of social media. It’s rumoured that one of the main problems dogging ADF’s reputation-protecting practices is that their 100-strong Comms teams lack staff with proven and cutting-edge PR issues expertise. I contacted ADF and asked about their social media policy and practices (they made me put my enquiry into writing and responded promptly yet obtusely). In short, the reply I received suggests that there is no dedicated social media policy in place for Australian defence forces, but that the organisation relies on existing media and conduct policies for protection. Clearly, old media policies just don’t work for new media environments (as anyone who has attended a social media conference in the last 4 years would attest!!).The new media landscape has changed rules/policies for managing PR. For those unfamiliar with the unsavoury PR pickles currently being experienced by ADF, they are:

Offensive racist Facebook and YouTube postings by army personnel serving in Afghanistan (calling Afghanis “ragheads”, “dune coons” and “sand niggaz”)

A female cadet officer who says that while having sex with a male cadet, the encounter was being relayed by Skype and watched live by a group of other cadets in another room without her consent.

Inability to take action on an anti-gay Facebook hate page (that was discovered up to 8-months ago) which derided ‘filthy lifestyles’ ‘bum bandits’ and ‘pillow biters’.

I contacted a trusted and respected colleague – who has served in the Aussie military – and he told me that ADF would not even be interested in hearing from “an outsider” with expertise in creating social media policy and/or managing PR issues or crises. It could be that their insularity and inward-thinking is contributing to the blinkered attitudes that only exacerbate their PR problems in the new media arena.

Academic Behrendt sends most offensive Twitter slur

Here in Australia, an academic/lawyer and indigenous affairs adviser seems to have got off lightly after having sent a Tweet suggesting that watching bestiality with a horse wasn’t as offensive as watching an(other) indigenous representative speak on television. While at first suggesting that people were taking her derogatory remark “out of context” (as if context could excuse away such a mean-minded barb), Larissa Behrendt offered an apology one day later (no doubt after being advised by government or similar PRs) which has been rejected by the object of Behrendt’s disrespect. Why can’t allegedly ‘smart’ people understand that commenting on Twitter is the same as sending out a personal press release to any and every media outlet in the world? Twitter is the no1 PR disaster platform of the social media space, and is the medium that reveals more about an individual’s true nature and character than a polished and prepared resume ever could.