Australia's 2011 PR Disasters Awards announced

For the second consecutive year, Qantas has topped the list of the annual PR Disasters Awards conducted by PR watchdog and blogsite And for the first time in the awards’ history, the airline had three embarrassing PR glitches feature in the year’s top ten most talked about PR nightmares. Here are Australia’s Top 10 PR Disasters for 2011 (biggest disaster first):
1. Qantas grounding – business decision that inconvenienced and angered a nation
2. Qantas luxury Tweet – poorly conceived Twitter promo which drew ire not idolising
3. Brendan Fevola – termination of troubled star’s contract with Brisbane Lions
4. Tony Abbott – mute, shaking-head TV interview freeze
5. Qantas ‘golliwogs’ – social media rugby promo, which catalysed a racial brouhaha
6. Ricky Nixon – PR fallout from unseemly association with the St Kilda teen
7. Larissa Behrendt – bitchy comments against Bess Price published on Twitter
8. Kyle Sandilands – personal vendetta against a journo forced a humiliating apology
9. Australian Defence Force – Cadet Skype-cam sex scandal
10. Gasp Retail – bad customer service flowed from in-store to email; a PR 101 fail! Continue reading

Nominate your favourite PR disaster of 2011

It’s been a bumper year for PR disasters, gaffes and mis-steps; we’ve reviewed the site and noted some of the years most memorable PR disasters (see below). But, we’d love to hear your views on what makes the biggest PR boo-boo of the year:
Tony Abbott’s ‘struck dumb’ shaking head interview
Ricky Nixon and the St Kilda teenager
Academic Larissa Behrendt’s offensive Twitter slur
Australian Defence Force – Skype sex scandal
Qantas Wallaby golliwog Twitter promo
News Ltd grilling of the Murdochs
Qantas and Alan Joyce grounding flights
Gasp retailer jeans email furore
Kyle Sandilands attack on Alison Stephenson
Qantas luxury pyjamas Tweet

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

Troubled AFL agent Ricky Nixon's crisis management advice

In 2007, under-flak AFL player agent Ricky Nixon set out his principles on Crisis Management for boys mag Alpha. And he’s had plenty experience of managing negative PR having advised headline grabbers such as Gary Ablett Snr, Wayne Carey and Ben “Such Is Life” Cousins. Kindly, Alpha has revisited ole curly top’s advice, and evaluated him against his own recommendations.

One could surmise, though, that where drugs and alcohol are present (and perhaps playing something of a dominant role) high quality decision making is adversely impacted.