Posts Tagged ‘fema’

Top PR blunders of all time

October 24, 2008

Kerry Katona
Kerry Katona



Watching the good ship Kerry hit a PR iceberg and sink on This Morning earlier this week, made me nostalgic for the greatest PR blunders of the past. Here are some old classics:


Brand/Company: FEMA

Failure level: Mild

Feeling battered after a spate of natural disasters and spending criticism in the US, FEMA thought they would take an easy route and position their employees as journalists in a press conference. The soft questions posed allowed spokesman Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson to comment favourably on FEMA’s work. The press saw straight through it and an even worse backlash followed.


Brand/Company: Hoover

Failure level: Major

In the 90s Hoover ran a promotion where anyone who spent more than £100 on a Hoover product received a free flight to America. The offer was massively popular, as this was before the age of budget carriers. But Hoover did not anticipate the level of demand and tried to hide behind technicalities to avoid giving customers their flights. Legal action from customers followed.

Brand/Company: Dasani

Failure level: Epic

Things weren’t going well for Dasani (Coca-Cola’s still water brand) when it was revealed that their water was simply taken from the Thames mains supply in Sidcup, Kent, echoing a famous plotline from Only Fools and Horses. But the laughter became anger when it was revealed that the water was contaminated with illegally high levels of bromate – a chemical linked to cancer – killing the brand stone dead.


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