25 Public Relations Nightmares That You Won’t Believe Actually Happened

Public relations is supposed to be about managing the spread of information between an organization or an individual and the public. It’s goal is basically to make the client (the aforementioned individual or organization) look good in the eyes of the public. In some ways this is very similar to advertising in that it seeks to gain exposure for the client. The primary difference is best summed up in this way – rather than featuring the client in an ad next to an article, the client is mentioned within the article. As you can probably guess, public relations is much more subtle than advertising (not always, but often). It takes a special understanding of how people, relationships, and other factors all interplay with one another.

These days it has become even more complicated with social media playing a huge role. In fact, public relations can hardly catch a break. One wrong tweet, one misspelled word in an email, one letter that should have been capitalized, and everything goes down hill fast. It can be quite an intense job and it definitely takes a unique individual to do it well. So get ready because these are 25 Public Relations Nightmares That You Won’t Believe Actually Happened!

Featured Image: Niuton may via Flickr


Todd Davis

Todd DavisSource: wikipedia

As the CEO of LifeLock, an identity theft protection company, Todd gave out his social security number to show how secure LifeLock was. Perhaps not surprisingly, his identity was stolen. 13 times.


Phillip Morris

Phillip MorrisImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

When the Czech government came out with research showing that smoking was costing the healthcare system, Phillip Morris tried to show that smoking actually saved the government money due to the early deaths of smokers. Of course, there was a predictable public backlash.


Mike Jeffries

Mike JeffriesImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Although Abercrombie and Fitch has had its share of mess ups, nothing quite competes with CEO Mike Jeffries explaining why the company doesn’t have any plus sizes. In his own words, “fat chicks will never be part of the ‘in’ crowd,” and he doesn’t want overweight women wearing his brand. He only wants good looking people. So yeah, there’s that.


The Ludlow Massacre

The Ludlow MassacreImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

When miners working for the Rockefellers started striking in Colorado, they (the Rockefellers) called in the National Guard. Many of the miners, along with their families, were slaughtered. In response, the Rockefellers founded the first PR department to deal with the fallout. They also started the Rockefeller Foundation to try showing people that they’re not that bad.



HooverImage: wikipedia, Source: wikipedia

Hoover thought it would be a good idea to give away free plane tickets with its vacuum cleaners. Well, people eventually realized that the plane tickets were often worth more than the actual vacuum cleaner. Hoover lost a good amount of money on that one.

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