BOMBERS DOPING SCANDAL IS PR DISASTER OF THE DECADE!

Essendon Bombers 'win at all costs', won it Australia's PR disaster of the decade.

Essendon Bombers ‘win at all costs’, won it Australia’s PR disaster of the decade.

As the PR industry’s unofficial watchdog – we can reveal Australia’s biggest PR disasters of 2015 – and of the decade too! In our 10th anniversary since the ‘PR Disasters’ book and blog were launched in 2005, we have used independent data analysis from a global media monitoring company to define Australia’s biggest PR blunders of the last ten years.

The Bombers doping scandal gained nearly double the negative media mentions (89,685)  than the runner up – a massive victory for any football team!

The Australian PR Disaster Awards highlight the worst examples of business, celebrity, government, media and sports PR “miss-steps”. They assess PR problems in both traditional and online spaces, including social media. 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. The winners are based upon the number of media mentions the issue gets (online and offline) and the amount of negative sentiment in that coverage. Australia’s Top 5 PR Disasters of the decade (biggest first) were:

  1. Essendon Bombers – supplements scandal (89,685 pieces of media coverage)
  2. Gillard/Labor Party Carbon Tax – Julia’s short-lived legislation (46,439)
  3. Abbott’s wink and ‘shirtfront’ – the ex-PMs blokey machismo (29,983)
  4. Qantas’ – its grounding of fleet and ‘luxury’ #socialmediafail (18,868)
  5. Volkswagen emissions – the emissions cheating scandal (12,341)

2015’s top five PR blunders were:

1               Volkswagen – the auto marque’s fake emissions scandal (12,341)                2               Joe Hockey – the former Libs treasurer’s “get a good job” jibe (7,262)       3               Belle Gibson – fraudulent claims of a cancer-curing blogger (6,792)           4               Bronwyn Bishop – ‘Chopper-gate’ trip took gaffes to a new high (4,390)  5               Australian Border Force – show of force turned to a PR farce (3,292)

Commenting on changes in the PR disaster phenomenon, PR Disasters analyst and author Gerry McCusker, commented: “Social media has the ability to turn a misstep into a marathon media nightmare. Cheating and insensitivity – which both rupture trust – are the biggest catalyst of PR and reputation blunders.”

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…

 

 

Bill Cosby's #socialmediafail as meme invites rape flak

Sometimes, reputational ineptitude scales the heights of unawareness and at other times it plumbs the depths of idiocy. When Bill Cosby’s online PR team invited audiences to meme pictures of cuddly old Bill, had they never heard of this year’s recent #myNYPD social media snafu?
Yet another reason why social media reputation isn’t a game for kids, or for old blokes with allegedly chequered pasts.
Bill Cosby meme fail

Social media seminar – where digital PR meets customer service

Sydneyside social media fans might want to consider an imminent (21/22 March), crisis-orientated social media training conference. It’s a “…must-attend for heads of service, consumer affairs leaders, emergency managers with an interest in stakeholder management, managers of contact centres and heads of complaints handling teams OR anyone who is responsible for customer interactions in times of crisis.”

Yum Brands' manage PR disaster after KFC China web promotion

An online coupon promotion – offering up to 50% discounts – was abused by some wily Chinese web users. And when restaurants refused to honour non-genuine coupons, the natives were revolting; arguing with managers, throwing chairs, flipping tables and refusing to leave certain stores.

From a reputation management perspective, Yum has done the right thing. Like most corporates, they have rules of engagement over customer promotions and customer service issues but…the problem with this Internet/Social Media age is that many consumers and stakeholders have no codes of behaviour at all. This inequity needs to be addressed to set a fair playing field for companies and consumers alike.

CBA bank deftly uses Twitter for issues management

Switched-on business practice, or setter of dangerous precedent? This story explores how one Aussie bank (Commonwealth) spotted an exasperated customer complaint on Twitter then rectified the problem in under two hours. Though as a client said in Sydney yesterday – and I paraphrase – “…what about all the other poor buggers with customer service gripes who’ve been waiting weeks or months for resolution?”

PS: Consider this an unofficial Tweet from me: it’s pelting down on the Gold Coast and I’m being strongly discouraged from getting into the outdoor pool for a swim. Like you lot care!!