Once in a while, something truly out of the ordinary happens in the PR world that really makes the rest of us stand up and pay attention. Maybe a company manages to pull off a great stunt, or manages to divert a crazy situation by acting clever. Whatever it is, there’s something to be learned from even the craziest PR story.
1. Nestle Created an Alternate 1-800 Menu
Callers to Nestle’s customer service line were treated with a separate selection of menu possibilities when the company added the “Funner” menu to the phone system. Listeners could select to hear a knock-knock joke, bubble wrap, or the announcer give a noogie to another operator. They even had the option to forego English and Spanish menu options and search through the menu with Pig Latin!
2. JetBlue’s Response to Flight Attendant
Back in August, we all watched with humor (and maybe a little understanding) when a JetBlue flight attendant quit his job in the most flamboyant manner possible. Wanting the initial buzz to die down, JetBlue brass decided to wait to respond to the ever-growing story surrounding the fed up attendant. Finally, two days later, they responded on the official JetBlue blog – a short, to the point and tongue in cheek response honoring the 2,000+ crewmembers who DIDN’T quit in a huff.
3. Kanye Apologizes to Taylor Swift
Whether it was eventually forced upon him by his PR team or he finally had an attack of conscience (or alcohol), Kanye West apologized via his Twitter account to songbird Taylor Swift for ruining her moment at the VMAs in 2009. Whatever the cause, it was a weird, awkward moment that had been a long time coming. Swift’s response? At the 2010 VMAs, she performed a song called “Innocent,” a not so subtle jab at the whole incident. Too little, too late.
4. Toyota Tries to Lie, Fails
Earlier this year, car manufacturer Toyota found out the hard way what a little white lie does to the public trust. Initial recalls for the Toyota Prius were to adjust the floor mats, as apparently they were causing the gas pedal to stick.
A short while later, the recall expanded to include the actual gas pedal! Customers were outraged as misidentifying the problem might have caused injuries and even deaths to Prius drivers. Then, when it was discovered the 2010 Prius had braking issues, consumers were left wondering if the company had any idea what they were doing at all anymore.
5. Netflix Hires Actors
Speaking of white lies … during Netflix’s launch in the Great White North of Canada, it was unfortunately discovered that the “excited fans” used to promote the event were, in fact, hired actors. A movie company using actors for their stunts? Unheard of!
The fact is, however, when using the actors to promote the launch it makes it seem the company could not find authentic fans of the service to help. Hey, I would’ve gone; I’ve been using Netflix for years now. It turns out, though, the actors weren’t supposed to directly talk to the media, as they were there solely to do a video. Just a plain old oops.
Share your favorite PR moment below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/bigbook.html