Dr Mumbo

The worst PR moves in history

While Dr Mumbo is not a fan of the lazy stealing of content from the Reddit hive mind, he can’t go past a recent thread on the worst PR moves in history.

You can see all 14,506 contributions in their full glory here.

And from that list, Dr Mumbo has selected some of his favourites:

1. The time the manufacturer of gasoline additive tetraethyl lead, Thomas Midgley Jnr, inhaled it at a press conference to prove it was safe – and was later diagnosed with lead poisoning which killed him

2. The time US radio station WONE played an April Fool’s joke on listeners by announcing it was shutting down and driving them away as a result.

3. The time jewellery store boss Gerald Ratner described his products as “crap” in a speech at an industry conference and ended up having to rebrand the entire company after it was picked up by the press.

4. The time Malaysian Airlines invited flyers in Australia to submit their “ultimate bucket list”, months after the loss of MH370 and MH17.

5. The time singer Susan Boyle’s new album was launched with the hashtag #susanalbumparty

6. The time Di Giorno’s pizza tried to gatecrash a domestic violence focused hashtag #WhyIStayed with a plug for pizza.

7. The time Vegemite launched iSnack 2.0 and was forced to change the name because the public hated it so much.

8. The time Bill Cosby invited fans to meme him and destroyed his reputation when it refocused public attention on rape allegations against him.

9. The time Hoover gave away free plane tickets with every purchase, and the public realised the bottom-of-the range products were much cheaper than the flights.

10. The time New York Police invited the public to share their experiences of the force with the hashtag #MyNYPD

11. The time Greenpeace trashed a World heritage site in Peru in order to put up a renewable energy message

12. The time PR executive Justine Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” and lost her job before she had even landed.

13 The time Daryl Summers tried to prove that Hey Hey It’s Saturday could still be relevant to a modern TV audience by inviting a troupe of performers to mimic Michael Jackson in Blackface

14. The time The Chaser did a sketch about terminally ill kids and got the show suspended from the ABC1 schedule.

15. The time BP caused the Gulf Oil spill

16. The time Jagermeister accidentally poisoned its guests at a promotional pool party by pouring liquid notrogen into the water.

17. The time Subway admitted its Footlong subs weren’t a foot long.

18. The time British radio station BRMB put four listeners in hospital with severe burns by challenging them to see who could sit on dry ice for the longest.

19. The time tobacco brand Philip Morris said early deaths from smoking were beneficial to the Czech economy.

20. The time a Swedish company called Locum sent out a Christmas card swapping out the ‘o’ for a heart – making it appear to read ‘I heart cum’.Locum Christmas card


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