PR isn’t just about press releases, but about every dealing your company has – including internal dealings, at least that is ultimately true. Below are our thoughts on some of the worst public relations errors within the last year.
Recently Malaysian Airlines had a plane go missing – more than a year later it is still missing. But in the beginning, the airlines was sadly lacking in communication efforts with families and the public. It may have simply been they were too focused on finding answers and forgot people were waiting. It would have helped their case if they had a good PR person giving frequent updates, even if there was no new information.
Then a few months later, another one of their flights was shot down over the Ukraine. Another big disaster to face. Soon after that, probably to help recover from the back-to-back disasters they started their Ultimate Bucket List Campaign, letting people know to qualify they needed to write a short essay on their ultimate vacation to take before dying. Not a good choice when nearly 600 people are dead or presumed dead while flying the scary skies of Malaysian Airlines.
The Spanish fashion retailer – Zara made a big fashion faux paus recently when they released children’s pajamas that were black and white horizontal stripes and sported a yellow Star of David in the shoulder area. Of course, it faced accusations of cultural idiocy and outrage for this blunder as the jammies resembled Nazi concentration camp uniforms. And this is a mistake they should have never made since in 2007 they briefly sold women’s handbags with a swastika.
UO recently offered a hoodie for only a short time that featured Kent State University’s logo. The jacket appeared worn, faded and sported a few holes. It also sported what could easily be seen as blood splatter. Though the company didn’t seem to realize their mistake before offering the hoodie, it was quickly pointed out to them in rapid form that there was nothing cool about reminding people of the 1970 Kent State riots, or the 4 dead and 9 injured students. Yep, time for a better PR plan there too.
Old Navy faced some heavy charges when a plus-sized customer realized that the company charges more for women’s larger size apparel, but not for men’s. The customer took to the Internet using change.org trying to force Old Navy to revise their policy. Old Navy responded that it cost more to make the larger sizes for women because of unique design elements and fabrics. Many are left wondering though when plus-sized women’s jeans at Old Navy cost $12-$15 more than the regular sizes.
Yes, PR includes press releases and slogans, social media posts and whatever get’s your company name in the public eye. That even includes within your company.