Rather than look at the individual years, let’s look at four different pitfalls that can hit people or
companies, and perhaps award an “Excavator Award” – for the company who decided in trying to
extricate themselves from a PR disaster, dug themselves into deeper trouble! Politicians making PR
Fails have been ignored, because let’s face it – this is a blog not a thirteen-week television series.
1. You spend years creating the celebritie’s wholesome persona and then……
We just had to include Will Smith, the comments of Chris Rock were out of order – but we only have
retrospect to wonder what would have happened to Chris’ credibility had Will not reacted in the way
he did. It certainly created headlines and sadly overshadowed Will later winning an Oscar for one for
his role as the father in the biopic about Venus & Serena Williams.
2. Greenwashing: – there are no shortcuts with due diligence even when you think the official
badge on the product will suffice.
Their products and putting them together are usually what causes heated discussions, but IKEA fell
foul of not doing independent checks to confirm certification by the Forest Stewardship Council. The
organisation Earthsight proved that IKEA’s beechwood chairs despite displaying FSC accreditation
were actually as a result of illegal logging in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine. One of a number
of suspicious FSC accreditations they found across the world.
3. Could what you have said, be taken the wrong way?
Burger King thought they would jump on the bandwagon of International Women’s Day in 2021 and
send a supportive tweet encourage more women to take on the role of Head Chef in more of its
franchise outlets across the country. But sometimes people can misunderstand what you are trying
to say – especially on International Women’s Day when women have been trying to prove no job
role is beyond them. A tweet which began “A woman’s place is in the kitchen” certainly provoked a
4. A Prize Failure!
Finally, the excavator award for seeing how deep you can dig yourself. Oh Polly
made one nurse as sick as a parrot, when it ran a competition during the Covid crisis to give nurses
and care workers a virtual party as a prize. Delighted to have won the prize, a Glasgow nurse was
highly upset to be told they wouldn’t change the date of the party as it fell in the middle of a 12-hour
shift, especially when the person from Oh Polly, just said “better luck next time” The nurse took to
Twitter and Oh Polly managed to alienate a lot of nurses and care workers by their responses.