The Qantas A380 engine blast has been named the worst Australian PR disaster of 2010, in the annual PR Disasters Awards by PR watchdog and blogsite PRdisasters.com.
The Canberra Raiders’ ‘dog sex’ scandal, the Commonwealth Bank’s premium interest rate hike and the David Jones sexual assault case were just some of the diverse incidents to make the year’s definitive list of PR gaffes. Celebrities Stephanie Rice, Matthew Newton and Lara Bingle also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2010.
The Awards highlight the worst examples of business, celebrity, government, media and sports gaffes. For the very first time, the results have been processed to include PR disasters in both traditional and online media, including social media spaces.
Gerry McCusker of the PR Disasters blog, partnered with Bree Dwyer from online and social media monitoring agency Cyber Chatter to run, analyse and calculate Australia’s biggest PR blunders, using world-leading Alterian SM2 technology.
Gerry McCusker says it is now vital to understand how social media can create a negative PR firestorm for your business.
“We’re seeing that social media is an increasing influence in determining the impact and duration of PR disasters. As citizen media clearly aids commentary and sharing of bad news stories, it’s essential to have strategies to cope with online sniping and gossip.”
To qualify as a PR disaster, the incident must catalyse sustained, negative media coverage for the brand, business or person at the centre of the story.
Here are Australia’s Top 10 PR Disasters for 2010 (biggest disaster first):
1. Qantas – A380 fleet consecutive engine issues and passenger delays
2. Commonwealth Bank – premium interest rate hikes
3. Labor Party – corporate backlash against the proposed ‘Resource Super Profits Tax’
4. Melbourne Storm – salary cap scandal
5. Stephanie Rice – homophobic comments posted via Twitter
6. Canberra Raiders – Joel Monaghan ‘dog sex’ photo
7. Virgin Blue – reservations and check-in system crash
8. Matthew Newton – after alleged assault of then partner Rachel Taylor in Italy
9. David Jones – CEO sexual assault scandal
10. Lara Bingle – media relations following split with Michael Clark