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The Top 5 Most Epic PR Disasters…

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12:03am 25th May 2015
(Updated 3:10pm 26th May 2015)

1. The Horsemeat Scandal

No one could have prepared the nation for the Horsemeat Scandal. Picture the scene… Mid-January 2013. Food inspectors reported that supermarkets in the UK were buying in frozen beef burgers partially made with horsemeat. This news freaked out the nation, in turn supermarkets went on a recalling flurry and tried to keep what keep what dignity they had intact. Tesco’s were among the supermarkets involved in the scandal – unfortunately for them a tweet scheduled before the scandal emerged didn’t leave the supermarket in a very good light. The Tesco Customer Care account unknowingly tweeted: ‘It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets’. Tesco apologised and swiftly recovered – but they couldn’t have timed that tweet more awkwardly!

 2. HMV

Another twitter related PR disaster, this time involving high street store HMV. In an attempt to save the high street brand from going under, administrators confirmed news of 190 firings from the company. Many tweets were made from the official HMV account from frustrated employees who were about to get the chop. The tweets were later deleted but the evidence is still floating around. Note to self – before a mass firing it might be good to change the twitter password…

3. McDonalds

Lots of brands have honed into the powers of social media to gather valuable feedback about their services. McDonalds decided to do just that and launched a twitter campaign #McDStories asking customers to tell them about their positive dining experience. This backfired when the public decided to abuse this opportunity and enlighten McDonald’s on how much they didn’t enjoy the fast food restaurant. The campaign was swiftly pulled but users were still tweeting with the hashtag weeks after.

4. Apple & U2

Something amazing happened on Wednesday 10th September. It involved Apple, U2 and you! Remember what it was? Ah yes, the world woke up to the latest U2 album ‘Songs of Innocence’ automatically downloaded onto their iTunes account. We all love a freebie don’t we? Not in this case. There was an uproar from iTunes users complaining that the album had been forced on them. Buzz words and phrases such as ‘Rude’, ‘Annoying’, ‘How do I delete’ and ‘Who are U2?’ were scattered across social media as people tried to figure out why they had 12 new tracks magically on their playlists. Lead singer Bono made an apology shortly after in reply to a complaint saying ‘Oops, I’m sorry about that’. Hmm, we’re not so convinced Bono.

5. Marius the Giraffe Slaying

Copenhagen Zoo was home to Marius, a beautiful healthy two year old giraffe. He lived a lovely life but unfortunately he was put down and fed to the lions. Nope, this isn’t some kind of sick joke – Marius was considered genetically unsuitable to breed. Instead of keeping him alive, or even explaining to the world their reasoning behind his death Copenhagen zoo killed, dissected and fed him to the lions in front of the public eye. People were obviously outraged by the situation. Note to self – animal deaths NEVER go down well so don’t do it!!


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