Putting the ‘PR’ in problem

Public relation blunders have dominated social media in recent weeks.

Pepsi released an ad with Kendall Jenner handing the soda to a police officer at a protest while all the people rejoiced. The ad inspired social media to immediate mocking and outrage for Pepsi’s portrayal.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, mocked the ad on Twitter, wondering what would have happened if her dad had a Pepsi.

“If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi,” she tweeted.

The ad has since been pulled from airwaves and Jenner has stayed silent on social media. It has been reported that she will show back up in the limelight at Coachella where she is invited DJ.

In another PR blunder, United was criticized for removing four passengers from a plane when they accidentally overbooked. Most notably, Dr. David Dao, who was forcefully removed. Dao went to the hospital and is now pressing charges against the airline.

United has apologized for the incident, but social media users called for the CEO’s resignation. The CEO of the airline, Oscar Muñoz, had just been honored as “Communicator of the Year” by PRWeek, when the event happened. He has said that he will not step down from his position.

Their bad week turned even worse when a scorpion fell out of an overhead bin on a United flight and stung a man. A flight attendant captured the scorpion with a cup and threw it away in the bathroom. The man was taken to the hospital after the flight landed, but was cleared of any medical problems.

United’s sales and stocks have plummeted. It is estimated that they have lost about $225 million in market value so far.

Sean Spicer had to apologize for comments he made about the Syrian chemical attack and Nazi Germany.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said during a press conference.

The public expressed outrage at his implication that Hitler did not use chemical weapons on concentration camps.

Spicer later apologized for the comments, calling them “inexcusable and reprehensible” and that he “let the President down.”

Several people, including some GOP members, have called for this resignation.

Burger King’s new marketing idea backfired after they tried to trigger Google devices in people’s home to explain what was in the Whopper burger by saying “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”

The device, Google Home, directs to a Wikipedia page, which can be changed by the public.

People manipulated the Wikipedia page to say ingredients such as cyanide and ‘medium-sized child.’ Although Wikipedia locked the page which prevent people from making changes, Google eventually stopped the device from triggering in the commercial.

Burger King, however, tweaked the ad and used different voices so that it would once again set off Google Home. Google has declined to comment at this point.

Nivea, a German company, faced backlash after an ad campaign said “white is purity.” It was posted on Nivea’s Middle Eastern Facebook page with the caption “Keep it clean, keep it bright. Don’t let anything ruin it.”

The post sparked outrage and controversy with social media users calling the ad racist.

The company that owns Nivea, Beiersdorf, apologized for the blunder.

“We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post. After realizing that the post is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn,” the company said in a statement.

The past weeks of PR problems have spawned Internet humor and memes for social media to feed on. With each mistake made, more jokes come out–but public relations are no joking matter for companies.

Laina Yost
Managing Editor

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