Don’t be anti-social on social media this year: the biggest social media gaffes of 2013

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Following on from some terrible mishandling of social media in 2013 by household names such as British Gas, Ryanair and Burger King, we look at the ways we think are best to handle social media. Continue reading

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Lance Armstrong’s confessional on the Oprah Winfrey ‘couch’

Oprah at her 50th birthday party

Image Credit: Alan Light

A tale of two PR Agendas

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is the latest celebrity to sit down with Oprah Winfrey, America’s de facto confessor, for a “no-holds-barred” two-part confessional. The two-part interview in which Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing substances during his heralded career after he had steadfastly denied doping allegations, was aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications. Continue reading

A New Year’s Resolution: Promise not to promise anymore

Photo by Carmello Fernando

Photo by Carmello Fernando

New Year is, traditionally, a time when we commit to diets, teetotalism, fitness regimes or generally being more laudable people in a promise – to ourselves more than anyone else – to be ‘better’ somehow. And, traditionally, we tend to break those promises after (and this is, admittedly, a wild approximation) a month. But while a cheeky glass of Chenin or going a fortnight without Zumba may be a New Year’s promise broken they are not, generally speaking, fatal – either literally or metaphorically.

But rash promises made to others – particularly to the media – really can be fatal to one’s reputation, especially when they are unambiguous, cast-iron pledges. Here are some examples of those who learnt the hard way: Continue reading

When is a joke no longer a joke? When Kate Middleton and human tragedy is involved

Kate M MoD

The Duchess of Cambridge
Credit the MoD

We all know the story, but now it has happened we can stand back and look at the PR lessons. First, the story: on December 5th, two happy go lucky DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian at the hitherto unknown Sydney-based radio station 2Day FM, had their scoop of a lifetime – they managed to dupe an unsuspecting nurse in a hospital to put them through the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was undergoing treatment for severe morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. She is the future Queen Consort of England – unless there’s a Republican coup – and her progeny will be the future King or Queen of England depending on sex. Continue reading

Are apologies overworked in PR? IKEA versus Apple

IKEA, founded in 1943, and one of the most successful international retailing companies, is undergoing a practical lesson in crisis management after admitting last week that political prisoners in the former East Germany laboured under cruel conditions to produce its furniture.

In May, a documentary made in Sweden – the home country of IKEA – made claims that the company had used the forced labour of political prisoners suppressed by the former head of the German Democratic Republic Honecker and his ubiquitous Stasi police to make its furniture. Continue reading