Lessons Learned: Public Relations Fails

Jun 19, 2019 | Public Relations

See How These Organizations Reacted to Negative Feedback

In a world where social media is continuously growing, any mistake a company makes often appears on social feeds. Whether this mistake be small or large, individuals can share negative buzz quicker than ever.

P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” However, that was before social media could prompt the loss of valuable customers and partners.

We’ve put together the top public relations and social media fails from the last year. Check out these snafus and how companies reacted.

Gillette #MeToo-Inspired Ad Campaign

In the beginning of the year, Gillette, the alpha man razor company, produced a two-minute ad regarding the ideals of the #MeToo movement.

The ad begins with a diverse array of men varying in ethnicity and age. It goes into portraying men who are harassing women, mansplaining and bullying others. The ad portrays these situations in the workplace, in the schoolyard and on the street, even incorporating an older commercial into the storyline.

With over 30 million views, the ad brought the company mixed reviews. While many applauded the company (roughly 800,000 thumbed up the video) for supporting the movement, many (14 million thumbed down the video) have had a negative reaction to the ad.

Gillette was expecting the negative backlash and was ready to respond. In an interview with NPR, a Gillette spokesperson said, “If we get people to pause, reflect and to challenge themselves and others to ensure that their actions reflect who they really are, then this campaign will be a success.”

Chase Bank Not so #MondayMotivation Tweet

Usually #MondayMotivation tweets are meant to get you ready for the upcoming week or encourage you to reach your goals. Unfortunately, Chase Bank’s motivation epically backfired when the company stated a customer’s balance was low because of frivolous spending.

The tweet, which can be seen below, stated customers should stop spending their money on coffee, breakfast and cabs. Many customers and other Tweeters found the tweet as “poor-shaming.”

After a massive negative response, Chase Bank took the No. 1 action we recommend not to do – deleted the post. After Chase Bank deleted the original tweet, it followed up with a tweet stating “Our #MondayMotivation is to get better at #MondayMotivation tweets. Thanks for the feedback Twitter world.”

This didn’t solve the issue, as many users tweeted they would be closing their account and finding a new bank.

Delta and Coca-Cola Fail as Matchmakers

Usually when on an airplane, you are either going on a vacation, visiting friends or on a business trip. But is the plane the place you go to look for your perfect match? Many would say no.

At the beginning of the year, Delta Air Lines and its partner Coca-Cola distributed drink napkins that were supposed to be seen as fun and flirty. The goal was to help individuals connect on the flight.

With mixed reviews many found the unsolicited flirting, in a contained environment such as a plane, “creepy” and “not a good look.”

Before the explosion of negative feedback on social media, Delta Air Lines released a statement to USA Today stating “We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January.” Following up, Coca-Cola released its own statement apologizing for offending anyone.

Want to make sure you don’t make a public relations fail? Contact us today to see how we can help.