Public relations tactics often amaze and impress consumers. However, each year, there are a couple instances where companies missed the mark. As this year comes to a close, let us identify this year’s top five PR fails, which are listed below. Let this list serve as a reminder that even professionals make mistakes, but also recognize how crisis communication is utilized to remedy branding blunders. As young and aspiring PR professionals, we can learn from these mistakes and strengthen our personal PR process!
1. H&M: Coolest Monkey in the Jungle
In January of 2018, the clothing brand, H&M, released a shirt titled, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” Using an African American male to model this piece resulted in a great deal of controversy. Individuals were extremely offended by this saying, arguing that it was derogatory towards the African American community. Following this criticism, H&M released an apologetic statement explaining that their intentions never meant to offend anyone.
2. Lady Doritos
Last July, the snack we all love and know, Doritos, from the company Frito-Lays, issued the idea to brand a new type of chip: Lady Doritos. Lady Doritos would be produced in a way to reduce the loud crunch and eliminate the orange fingers that typically come with Doritos. The internet went ballistic over this product, stating that women enjoy them the same way men do making the title name ‘Lady Doritos’ sexist. Pepsi released a statement with their own statement about the situation.
3. Hawaii Ballistic Missile
On Jan. 3, 2018, an accidental emergency alert went off in Hawaii of an incoming ballistic missile. Alarms went off, sending a notification to every smartphone. A state of panic and confusion was induced across Hawaii. The Hawaii emergency management services apologized, claiming that it was a result of a worker who had accidentally “pressed the wrong button.” This was not the first time a similar issue had occurred with this particular employee.
4. Kendall Jenner’s Vogue Photo
On Friday October 19th, 2018, Vogue posted a Picture of Kendall Jenner with an afro. The question, “why couldn’t vogue hire a black woman instead?” became a large topic for conversation. Many individuals expressed their disapproval on Twitter. Vogue released a statement to E News! stating that, “it was just them trying to look at the past.”
This summer, IHOP went through the process of changing its name from The International House of Pancakes to The International House of Burgers. People all over the country were thrown off at first thinking it was International House of Breakfast. Other restaurants took went to Twitter mocking the restaurant by pretending to change their name. IHOB finally changed their name back to IHOP, and the people of America were relieved.
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