Communication and PR gaffs

If you’ve ever made a communication or public relations gaff in your business, rest assured you’re not alone. Take a look at some of the most famous – and infamous – gaffs of the past decade.

  • In 2001, Philip Morris stated that smoking deaths have positive effects.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch released thongs for girls (not the ones you wear on your feet!) and racist t-shirts in 2002.
  • In 2008, America’s automakers flew in private jets to Washington to explain how tough times were and ask for a bailout.
  • Urban Outfitters released a racist board game called Ghettopoly in 2003.
  • BP’s handling of the Gulf Coast oil spill. There are too many gaffs to mention but special mention must go to the CEO stating how difficult his life was following the disaster.

Closer to home, there are plenty of Australian companies who have hit trouble, some of their own doing, some not. Here are some notable ones from the past year or two:

  • Qantas’ problems with the A380
  • Melbourne Storm’s salary cap scandal
  • The David Jones CEO sexual assault scandal
  • Commonwealth Bank’s extra hike in interest rates
  • While not a business, special mention should go to Stephanie Rice for her inappropriate and homophobic comments posted on Twitter. Maybe she thought no one reads Twitter anymore!

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