It’s that time of year again – time to take stock of the worst PR gaffes in 2014 and announce the naffTA Awards from PNPR. So, who showed the greatest skill in torpedoing their reputation?
Shame on you, supermarkets! Through your poxy poultry you could fill Wembley Stadium three times with victims of campylobacter, the food-poisoning bug. Every year. So said, the Food Standards Agency.
Worst offenders, reported the FSA, were The Co-op (73% of chickens contaminated), followed by Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons (all at 69%). If these major retailers want to rescue their reputation, they better clean up their chicks: poisoning 280,000 customers a year is not good for business.
Film producer Scott Rudin wins this year’s award hands down by insulting Hollywood Royalty – Angelina Jolie. He emailed a friend, describing her as ‘a spoilt brat with limited talent’. So, Scott, say goodbye to working again with Angelina, husband Brad Pitt or any of their gilded circle of friends, including George Clooney. And write 1,000 lines: never email anything which could come back to bite you when it’s leaked or hacked.
FIFA aside, which with the disaster-prone Mr Blatter would win every year, this is a close tie between two titans of stupidity. Mario Balotelli posted an anti-semitic tweet about money-grabbing Jews and then told everyone to shut up as his mum was Jewish. No word from mama, but the FA banned him for a match and fined him £25,000. Sheffield United then put a size 12 boot in their mouth by saying they’d allow Ched Evans, their former player and convicted rapist, to train with them. Only the outcry led by Olympic heroine Jessica Ennis, a Blades’ fan, with one of the stands named after her, forced the club to recant. Any muppet could have seen that coming. Nul point for PR nous or just common sense.
The political honours for Dunce of the Year in PR terms was a close-run thing between Andrew (“I’m most certainly not a pleb!”) Mitchell, former Tory minister David Mellor and UKIP.
Mitchell lost his libel case against The Sun and a cool £3m over Plebgate, while Mellor lost his temper with a London cabbie for not following his directions. He called him ‘a sweaty, stupid s***’ and recited his CV including a Cambridge education and Minister of the Crown, to prove his omniscience. Little did he know that the much smarter driver was recording the outburst. Result: egg all over Mellor’s florid jowls and a grovelling apology on his radio show subsequently. What was especially nasty about his hissy fit was calling said driver ‘sweaty’ – one of the Great Unwashed. Don’t forget the wipes next time, Mr M.
Finally, UKIP are overall winners of the Golden naffTA Award this year for so richly entertaining us with their devotion to kamikaze PR. Nigel Farage (a suspiciously French-sounding name) blasted immigrants for clogging up the roads, and suggested women should go in a corner to breast feed. And, who would want a Romanian living next door, he asked. Then the party’s candidate leader, David Soutter, said he spent half his time weeding out the lunatics who wanted to stand for local seats. One he missed was Natasha Bolter, who not only was not Oxford-educated, as she had claimed, but then alleged she’d been sexually harrassed by the UKIP general secretary, Roger Bird. Mr Bird duly resigned.
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