Category Archives: Brand Damage

Apple slams rivals – Good or bad PR?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and antennagate aren’t out of the news yet. Instead of just offering up a quick apology and a free case for the iPhone 4 reception issues, Jobs fired up many smartphone competitors during the press conference last Friday.

Jobs pointed out antenna issues on phones from RIM, Motorola and HTC. He stated that they experienced the same dropped calls if gripped on the side in poor signal areas.

CEOs from RIM, who makes Blackberry, and Motorola are miffed with Jobs for dragging their names through the mud with him — as if that was going to take the heat off of Apple a bit.

USA Today: “Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable,” say Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, co-CEOs of Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry. “RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs, which reduce the risk for reduced calls.”

“It is disingenuous to suggest that all phones perform equally,” Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha says in a statement. “In our own testing, we have found that ( Motorola’s) Droid X performs much better than iPhone 4 when held by consumers.”

The press conference was held to appease Apple iPhone 4 owners. Apparently the PR team at Apple thought it would be a good idea to make sure those who haven’t purchased an iPhone 4 yet were informed about the short-comings of the competition.

Is that a brilliant public relations move for Apple or just another lame attempt to keep people from straying because there are so many smartphone choices?


Filed under Brand Damage, Crisis PR, Negative PR, PR Stunt

Spirit Airlines takes the piss out of BP

Spirit Airlines, whose previous attempts at humor have included a Tiger Woods-themed sale, has now put together a tasteless oil-spill-related promotion (themed “Best Protection,” or “BP”) for flights to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Atlantic City, N.J., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The tagline, “Check out the oil on our beaches.”

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Filed under Brand Damage, Misleading ads

Snow White becomes Ho White

ho white

A new ad from Australia’s Jamieson Brewery shows a whole different side of Disney’s Snow White.

They’ve turned her into “Ho White,” a floozy who lounges around naked in bed, blowing smoke rings, next to her brood of shag-mates, the Seven Dwarfs.

Created by an agency called The Foundry, the ad is part of a campaign that positions the brewer’s raspberry ale as “Anything but sweet.”

According to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, the dwarfs were given new names like Filthy, Smarmy and Randy.

We wouldn’t know, because The Foundry has pulled the campaign materials off its Web site after admitting, somewhat ominously, that the agency had “a little bit of contact” with Disney about the ad.

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Filed under Advertising agency, Brand Damage, Brand Equity, Brands, Controversial ad

Sex Pistols attack ice cream


Sex Pistols‘ lawyers have threatened an ice cream company with legal action because of similarities in their advertising campaign and the band’s artwork and lyrics.

London-based company Icecreamists‘ online advertisements feature a picture of the Queen backed by a Union flag, with an ice cream spoon in her mouth and the words “God save the cream” written across her face.

Speaking about the dispute, Icecreamists‘ founder Matt O’Connor said he was surprised that the band appear to be concerned.


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Filed under Brand Damage, Controversial ad, Misleading ads, Negative PR, PR Stunt

Apprentice forced to re-edit


The production behind the Irish edition of The Apprentice programme have been forced to re-edit every episode of the new series after a run-in with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI).

According to todays Sunday Tribune, one episode of the show last season contravened the advertising code, by giving “undue prominence” to Renault products and logos, a company linked to programme mentor Bill Cullen.

Larry Bass, CEO of Screentime ShinAwiL, the company which makes The Apprentice, said, “After the BCI’s investigation into the show last year, this season we have been incredibly careful. Each episode of the new series was viewed by four lawyers, a lawyer representing us, a lawyer representing TV3, and two outside lawyers to make sure that, in their opinion, no product was given undue prominence.”

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Filed under Brand Damage, Brands, Irish Brands, Product Placement

WWF controversial 9/11 ad – creatives sacked


This is the controversial ad that the Brazilian ad agency DDB ‘made on spec’  as part of a pitch but rejected by the WWF.

The newspaper advert features dozens of planes on a collision course for New York landmarks, beneath the slogan: “The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11” and the environmental charity’s panda logo.

It was apparently intended to raise awareness of the greater dangers posed by environmental disasters like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, in comparison to terrorist attacks.

Reports claim hat it was published only once in a small Brazilian newspaper at the agency’s expense – apparently so that it would be eligible for awards. A video version of the advert has also been obtained by Gawker, the New York gossip blog .

This seems to be a complete overreaction to this ad. Yes 9/11 was a terrible outrage committed by terrorists. Yes natural disasters can be much worse than terrorist attacks but why whats wrong with the comparison? It seems that DDB sacked the creatives behind the ad even though the local office of the WWF signed-off on the ad. Hardly fair.

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Filed under Advertising agency, Blog, Blogger Outreach, Brand Damage, Brand Equity, Brands, Controversial ad, Crisis PR, Misleading ads, Negative PR, Newspapers, PR, PR Stunt, Print ads

Greens launch Lisbon campaign


Sinn Féin continue their poor No-to Lisbon  PR stunts by heckling another party at their campaign launch.

 Minister for the Environment and Leader of the Green Party, John Gormley was heckled by Sinn Féin Dublin City Cllr. Killian Forde as he leaves the Green Party launch in Merrion Square, Dublin.

Deputy Government Press Secretary John Downing doesn’t look too chuffed.

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Filed under Brand Damage, Lisbon Treaty, Negative PR, Political PR, Political spin, PR, PR Stunt

Bobbies replace the beat with a tweet


The UKs Metropolitan Police are spending thousands on consultants who are training them in the use of social networking sites like Twitter.

Police chiefs are anxious to see what is being said about their force by web savy members of the public.

The sites could also give police an early-warning system in the run-up to events such as this week’s Climate Camp in London, which has erupted in violence in the past.

With many mass demonstrations now being organised on the web, police say they need to make sure they are up to speed on what protesters are posting on the internet.

The Met has appointed 6Consulting, which uses software that harvests messages about the police from social networking sites and blogs.

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Filed under Blog, Brand Damage, Facebook, Negative PR, New Media, PR, Social Media, Twitter, Website, Youtube

PR stunt by Dublin Dock workers


Approximately 40 dockers in five 17ft boats today attempted to block vessels entering and exiting Dublin Port. The group are protesting over redundancies and cutbacks in pay and conditions for workers at Marine Terminals Limited.

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Filed under Brand Damage, Crisis PR, Negative PR, PR Stunt

Iceland part company with Kerry Katona


So Iceland has finally gone and dumped Kerry Katona after a four year relationship. The move follows a News of the World exclusive revealing Katone as a cocaine user.

Several commentators in the past have called for Katona to be sacked from her role as brand ambassador for the food retailer but the reality is that she was the perfect fit for the brand.

Kerry Katona who lounges around all day in a tracksuit, has kids to several different fathers, is divorced, bankrupt, takes drugs, smokes, drinks while pregnant is the perfect role model for chav Britain, Iceland’s target market.

So up until Katona was exposed taking drugs Iceland were quite happy for her to endorse their products. Who else would attract so much media coverage for them?

PS. Is there any chance that this could actually be a set-up by Kerry Katona herself? Unlikely, but just a thought that went through my mind.

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Filed under Brand Damage, Brand Equity, Controversial ad, Crisis PR, Negative PR, Tabloid Media