No one company is perfect and let’s face it, mistakes happen. What’s important is how companies handle those mistakes. Some jump on the opportunity to avert a crisis and are able to handle a potential crisis or social media disaster with grace and ease, while others may not have the best approaches. Here are some examples of PR blunders and what companies did to fix them… or not fix them.
Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut asked participants of the presidential debate on Oct. 16th to ask presidential candidates “Pepperoni or Sausage?” and said they would award them with free pizza for life.
What they didn’t do so well: Although their intentions may have been good to get involved and capitalize on the upcoming election and debates, Pizza Hut did not sound smart proposing this idea since it takes away from the seriousness of the issues being discussed during the debate. The health component of free pizza for life doesn’t exactly bode well either. Why couldn’t Pizza Hut come up with the idea for a participant to ask an intelligent question pertaining to the debate?
Here is the Pizza Party press release.
What they didn’t do so well: Unfortunately the boundary between personal social media and brand social media was crossed and abused.
What they did well: Immediately realized the insensitive tweet and issued an apology as well as a direct apology to Obama. They also provided the opportunity for those concerned about the tweet to direct message KitchenAid to discuss and engaged in conversation.
Gap: This week Gap tweeted to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. What they didn’t realize was that their tweet about online shopping was insensitive to the natural disaster going on and those directly affected.
Here is the tweet:
What they did well: They apologized and did something positive. Gap deleted the original post and issued an apology tweet explaining their intentions of the original tweet. Although deleting a post doesn’t delete negative consequences of that message, the notion is still acknowledged.
Nike: Black and Tan – Nike released its black and tan shoe, unaware of the implications behind the two colors. Black and tan refer to the controversy in Ireland with the British government.
What they should have done: Their research. With a simple Google search this PR issue could have been avoided.
What they did and didn’t do so well: Nike issued an immediate apology apologizing for offending many Irish people.
Being proactive and active in online conversations is a common crucial component that all these companies share in redeeming themselves after a PR blunder.