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  • Writer's pictureTeam Hype

Worst PR Campaigns

When executed well, a PR campaign can skyrocket a brand's reputation. When done incorrectly, it may destroy a reputation beyond repair faster than you can say "Twitter."

Numerous public relations campaigns have left a bad impression on people. Some public relations campaigns leave a bad taste in people's mouths, whether it's because of bad timing, lack of planning, misguided ambitions, or total ignorance.

Here is a list of some of the worst public relations campaigns that failed to get the right kind of attention:

  1. Kendall Jenner and Pepsi Commercial

Our first example of poor PR is the Kendall Jenner advertisement for Pepsi. 2017 saw the introduction of a campaign for Pepsi using American model and media celebrity Kendall Jenner. It showed young people calmly demonstrating while Jenner is filming a picture shoot nearby while they are seen strolling down the street.

Jenner was then depicted as experiencing a kind of "aha" experience. She then halted the photo shoot and merged with the demonstrators. She smiles as she moves through the mob in the direction of the police. As the protesters enthusiastically applaud, she reaches for a can of Pepsi and gives it to one of the officers.

Pepsi believed it would be beneficial to acknowledge the demonstrations and the emerging movement. However, the people didn't take their intentions too well. The advertisement was viewed by many as an insensitive and very cheap method to promote a product at the expense of much more important social issues.

  1. OVO Energy

OVO Energy, a British energy provider, comes first. In 2020, a cost-of-living crisis loomed over the nation of Britain. The country's poorest people now have to choose between heating their homes and eating. Energy prices have increased by more than 50%. It's not the best time for an energy provider to send clients frivolous emails with advice on how to remain warm in winter without cranking up their heating. That's just plain rude, don't you think?

The email contained a link to a blog post that provided energy-saving gems like:

  • Try star jumping

  • Hug your animals

  • Consume porridge

  • Don extra clothing

  • When it's sunny, let your curtains down.

  • After cooking, keep the oven door open.

The advice was obviously not well-received. Everything depends on timing, and OVO's negative PR was a badly timed jab in the gut.

  1. Tesla Electric Truck

Tesla, an American electric vehicle maker, introduced its new truck in 2019 and dubbed it "bulletproof" before it ever went on sale.

During the truck's live unveiling, Elon Musk and his team attempted to shatter the glass to demonstrate the truck's durability and resistance. Sadly, things did not turn out the way they had hoped. The car's windshield cracked. Twice.

Although the "bulletproof" truck announcement was perceived as somewhat frivolous, it did not significantly harm Tesla's reputation. However, it is an excellent illustration and continual reminder to test your product thoroughly before making any public claims about what it is or is not.

  1. Burger King's Veganuary

There was criticism against several other major PR gaffes in 2020, with Burger King receiving an honorable mention for launching a new vegan burger in a big way during "Veganuary" 2020. Later, it was discovered that it had mayonnaise (which, as we all know, contains egg) and had been prepared on the same grills as the company's meat-based burgers. It turned out to be unsuitable for vegetarians or even vegans, necessitating a caution on its advertisements. This was one PR campaign that was a complete failure as a result.

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