PR Disasters Awards contenders

Seems like a list of some the usual suspects – celebs, footballers, politicians – lining up to take the 2014 PR disasters awards this year past. Some of the contenders include: NRL’s Paul Gallen (c-tweet), PM Tony Abbott (wink wink), James ‘Punchy’ Packer, Malaysia Airlines, and even a late overseas entry from a Mr William Cosby

Your nominations before we start crunching the data, please…

Audio interview on preventing social media disasters

Do you really understand the consequences and power of Online Reputation Management? Do you get how social media silos and scuttlebutt are the fuel that can feed global online news attention and damaging search engine finds? Ahead of a four-session seminar series for IABC International, PR analyst and author of the book ‘Public Relations Disasters’ Gerry McCusker shares his thoughts in a year of celebrity social media stuff-ups and suggests a new engagement ethos for ORM.

Crying over spilt (Halal) milk

The power – and pain – of agenda-driven social media lobbying has curdled (pun 1) the relationship between the Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company and some of its online detractors, specifically Restore Australia. Anti-IslamisationBoycott Halal baseball cap activists have targeted and bombarded the South Australian Fleurieu dairy company in many prominent social media channels; channels that offer unexpurgated commentary and unedited critiques often prove fertile breeding grounds for a culture (pun 2) of brand-bashing and, oftentimes, personally-biased and uninformed venting.

In posting this, my aim is not to defend nor attack either interest in this incident but simply to illustrate a modern PR disaster dynamic; that what starts small online, can snowball into a capital city news report and eventually move onto our national TV news screens. Social media is all about reputation, as well as stakeholder engagement and influence. Hat-tip (pun 3) to Zazzle for the image.

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

PR Disasters 2013 – nominations and data flowing in

Reviewing the candidates and numbers for 2013’s Annual PR Disasters Awards is proving challenging; the feeling is that sport may very much dominate the field rather than previous years which saw government and corporate PR disasters abound. Just to whet your appetite, prospective candidates (in no particular order yet) for the Awards include:
Political expense abuse claims
Tom Waterhouse/Gai Waterhouse/John Singleton snafu
Essendon Bombers* performance drug scandal
MP Geoff Shaw court and stakeholder skirmishes
Collingwood boss Eddie Maguire’s King Kong gaffe
Myer’s Bernie Brookes NDIS pronouncements
VW car recall
Australian government phone spy scandal with SBY
Mark Textor tweet
Cronulla Sharks doping allegations
Young political candidate media gaffes

What stands out for you as the Aussie PR blunder of the last year?

Energy Watch CEO Ben Polis sacked after Facebook brainmelt

Polis on Facebook

.The job of the modern CEO entails being a leader, a visionary, a community conduit and the epitome of company standards.
Carried out professionally, the job role encompasses board support, community relations, human resources and, essentially, reputation management. Anyone posting on social media, must understand their comments are like Press Releases by them to the entire world!!
Aussie utility monitor company Energy Watch has just sacked its CEO – and lost several leading sponsorship ties as well – after its indecently youthful CEO Ben Polis – dropped the company in a whopper PR disaster re his social media editorials and utterances. They seem to betray a person of either troubled or questionable character.
Following Polis’ posting of bigoted, racist, sexist and sundry other offensive comments on social media – and the backlash from media commentators – the company had to let the self-outed ADD/ADHD sufferer go. His PR comebacks have so far been lame – along the “I can’t be racist, my cleaner is Asian and I once dated a half-Aboriginal woman.” Ugh. Gritty Polis helped form the Energy Watch company, which kinda explains why he got to be a media-attractive CEO. But doing the job of the CEO means more than typing the title on a businesscard and doing the speakers’ circuit. You need luck and grace on your recovery back from this one, Ben. (Ta to The Age for tip and Herald Sun for graphic).