Sometimes companies and brands do some stupid sh*t, and that stupid sh*t gets leaked to the general public and has some serious consequences. This, my friends, is what we call a PR fail! Here’s a look at some of the biggest PR disasters of our time…
Kenneth Cole Promotes His Fashion Line By Piggybacking On International Crises
We all remember in 2011 when Kenneth Cole made light of the protests in Egypt with the tweet…
In 2013, he did it again, attempting to sell shoes by referencing Pentagon spokesman George Little’s assertion there’d be no “boots on the ground” in Syria (seen below). Although KC issued an apology (only after massive backlash across social media), it’s nearly impossible not to associate the brand with taking advantage of international crises trending on social media.
A & F Tells Jersey Shore To Not Buy Their Stuff
Abercrombie & Fitch, a brand that is no stranger to controversy, launched an advertising campaign in 2011 claiming that Mike Sorrentino, a.k.a. The Situation from Jersey Shore, was causing damage to the brand’s reputation by wearing A & F’s clothing on and off the show. Apparently A & F offered to pay Sorrentino to stop wearing its clothes. A & F stocks plummeted after this fiasco. We know it’s not exactly ideal to be affiliated with Jersey Shore, but this gaffe was truly a PR fail.
Janet Jackson’s “Nipplegate” Stunt Changes The Rules Of Live Broadcasting
Ten years ago, Janet Jackson’s decorated nipple caused the biggest ruckus the Super Bowl had ever seen during her performance with Justin Timberlake. Although no one knows for sure the motivations behind the stunt, the “wardrobe malfunction” resulted in the FCC getting over 540,000 complaints from Americans. The viral video clip was also partially responsible for the launching of YouTube one year later. FYI: The next six halftime shows exclusively featured middle-aged men.
Etsy Greeting Card PR Nightmare
Etsy was selling greeting cards that said things like “Congratulations! You got Bad Touched,” “Congratulations, You Have Breast Cancer!” and “Congratulations, Your Kid Has Down Syndrome!” CNN featured it as a news story and shamed the online company for allowing such tasteless products to be sold on its site. Watch the video here to see how it unfolded.
American Apparel’s Hurricane Sandy Sale
The sale quoted “In case you’re bored during the storm.” Because losing all of one’s possessions to nature’s foulest temper-tantrum is just so dull. This insensitive email blast inspired a stream of outrage on Twitter, with many users promising to boycott the chain and its silver leggings once and for all. Thanks American Apparel… we might have been forced to Google how to survive in a Hurricane out of boredom, but instead we got leggings soaked in insensitivity.
What are your thoughts on these PR fails? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.