Royal Family, Romney, Austrian Daredevil - The Best & Worst PR of 2012
Prince Harry is caught with his pants down and Kate Middleton with her top off. The Royal Family bristles over the media attention and tosses lawsuits about like darts at a downtown London pub.
Players from the NFL’s New Orleans Saints are caught getting paid by coaches for knocking opposing players out of games after bounties have been put on those players’ heads. And who could forget the NFL’s decision to use replacement referees? Then the NHL owners locked players out of training camps and the subsequent season for the third time in Commissioner Gary Bettman’s 19-year tenure.
Mitt Romney, during a failed attempt to writhe the White House out of President Obama’s hand, tells a room full of financial backers and supporters that 47% of Americans are looking to the Federal government for handouts and gifts, and that his job “is not to worry about those 47%.”
Can you believe that a handful of chief executive officers told company employees that if President Obama is re-elected it could mean downsizing and lost jobs? Talk about your bad PR moves and fear mongering.
Each of these incidents begs the question, “What were they thinking?” When it comes to bountiful blunders, the list is long and distinguished.
The CEO of Chick-Fil-A takes matters into his own hands when discussing the white-hot and politically sensitive issue of gay marriage. But good PR took over to drown out the noise to remove the company from the media’s crosshairs.
The J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets, sign backup quarterback Tim Tebow to a contract but never take advantage of his athleticism, leaving him to wilt on the sidelines while the team wilted on the field under the direction of the ineffective Mark Sanchez. The Jets’ inept offense and a couple of well-placed injuries on defense led to another disappointing year in New York, culminating with another PR pitfall when Fireman Ed retired as the Jets’ No. 1 fan out of disgust.
Back on the political front, Rick Santorum, another of the presidential hopefuls from the GOP, had a number of “open mouth, insert foot” moments, which effectively took him out of the race for the White House. And then there was the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and education programs because of its anti-abortion stance. It was not only a nightmare, but it resulted in a number of agencies disassociating themselves from the Komen Foundation, as well as some of the foundation’s top executives resigning.
For all the bad PR, which seems to be the ones that really stick in our minds, there were some good examples too.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to go forward with the city’s annual marathon, then cancel it just two days before the starting gun was to be fired was looking like a bad move, until some quick thinking local companies gathered up the vacant
hotel rooms and offered them to families who were homeless due to storm damage.
And what about Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who stepped from a helium balloon at the edge of the stratosphere, freefalling to earth and landing safely in the New Mexico desert? He set the world record for the highest freefall and was the first man to break the sound barrier without traveling in a jet or spacecraft.
Then just this past week, Ruelala suspended, for a day, it's online boutique, instead requesting its customers make a donation to the United Way of Western Connecticut in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Yes, the lists go on and on, but we’re limited here by space constraints. As a Boston-based PR agency we’re always looking for the good, bad and ugly, the latter two which we had plenty of this season with Bobby Valentine’s failed attempt to skipper our beloved Red Sox.
Certainly there are more examples of good and bad PR. What comes to your mind?