10 of the top PR blunders of 2012, so far


PRNews just published a fun story, PR News Hotlist: Top 10 PR Blunders of 2012, Part 1. It was a cringe-worthy journey down memory lane. I hadn’t thought about some of these in a while; everything else is being drowned out by all the Chick-fil-A clucking (ha! sorry) going on.

Lists like this open the discussion about whether social media is PR. Many of these blunders on the list began as social media gaffes, which then created the need for PR. An Olympian tweeting something controversial is way different than Komen revoking financial support of Planned Parenthood. Does it all fall under the PR umbrella?

I can’t wait to see Part 2 of this list, which I know will include one of my favorite PR oopies of this year so far: Spain finds out about their king’s expensive elephant-hunting trip. So, big deal, king’s need vacays. Wellll. He was also the honorary president of World Wildlife Federation of Spain, and the country is in its worst fiscal shape in a long time. It made me laugh every time I heard the story on NPR. Which was often.

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3 thoughts on “10 of the top PR blunders of 2012, so far

  1. John Henry Malik says:

    Glad to see you are back. Gotta go now. Chick-Fil-A beckons!

  2. suziealexandra says:

    Hi Abby,

    Excuse me for using Wikipedia here I’m short on time!!

    I found these definitions:

    Ivy Lee and Edward Louis Bernays established the first definition of public relations in the early 1900s as
    “a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures, and interests of an organization… followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”

    In August 1978, the World Assembly of Public Relations Associations defined the field as
    “the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest.”[4]

    The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defined public relations in 1982 as:
    “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”[5]

    In 2011 and 2012, the PRSA developed a crowd-sourced definition:
    “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”[6]

    Public relations can also be defined simply as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.[7]

    The European view of public relations notes that besides a relational form of interactivity there is also a reflective paradigm that is concerned with publics and the public sphere; not only with relational, which can in principle be private, but also with public consequences of organizational behavior.[8][9]

    So I feel from this that social media is a part of modern Public Relations I’m still not sure if it is PR or just an additional tool, does a tool of PR make it PR? Is it PR because it does fulfill PR requirements? The gaffes that seem to be a consequence of social media could easily also be an offline mistake through non electronic word of mouth. In more traditional times TV, print and broadcast were the tools of the time like social media is the tool of this time… are we confusing ourselves with what a tool is? PR is still PR?!!

  3. testdomain says:

    I’m a great believer that any tool that improves communication has profound consequences in terms of how folks can understand from each and every other, and how they can attain the kind of freedoms that they’re engaged in.

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