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