Wow! What a week for PR no-no’s.
Two stories on bad PR moves. The first about a long-time PR practitioner posting not-so-nice comments about special needs, and reacting in what we teach out clients not to do. The second about a South African condom company who took vulgarity too far, and at the worst possible time.
A Rose Wilts
Locally in the Arizona market, well known ( and not always well liked) Jason Rose was fired as a representative for Special Olympics Arizona for posting insensitive comments on Twitter surrounding special needs. A full story can be read on .
With social media, everyone can forget at times that though they have personal accounts, and mention such in their profiles (mine included), those in the PR/Marketing industry still represent the goals and initiatives of their clients. Personal accounts shouldn’t be locked down and held accountable for everything posted, but precautions and a realization that posts are public, should still be heeded. While I’m sure Jason didn’t conduct a checklist of before he posted:
• Do I have clients that will be upset?
• Does this go against a positive image I’m representing?
• Is this harmful?
Fueling the issue was the response once it was picked up – “I meant the opposite.” As PR practitioners we drill our clients to take a step back before responding and make it accurate, meaningful and take some sort of action towards a goal (changing behavior, acknowledging a breakdown, etc). Rose knows controversy and issues management better than most, I’m sure. He should have taken his own advice.
But there is a hero in this story, Special Olympics themselves. They held steadfast to their mission and values and severed ties quickly with Rose. A beautiful statement that abuse, ignorance and neglect of any kind will be tolerate on any level.
Lesson: Hold fast to values and missions, and don’t tolerate anything less – your PR person or not.
The second is Durex – a condom brand from South Africa. Memeburn.com wrote a great summary of the issue: http://memeburn.com/2011/11/durex-social-media-cock-up-is-no-joke/