Nightmare on PR Street

Goblins, ghouls and grammatical gaffes – these are spooky things for any company. 2020 has been a challenging, disruptive year, and we don’t see this changing any time soon. So, in line with Halloween and all things frightful, we thought it worthwhile to revisit a few famous PR Horrors. And don’t forget to chuckle!

1. Peloton Christmas ad

Yikes. The 2019/2020 Peloton Holiday ad that missed the mark by a mile. Or was that a million miles? The ad featured a wife who was gifted a Peloton bicycle by her husband that was supposed to magically restore her confidence and um… appeal to her husband – cringe. The ad went viral on social media, being referred to as ‘The Peloton Girl,’ with the actress subsequently being picked up for spoof ads by Ryan Reynolds that turned into memes across the internet.

2. American Airlines AAirpass lifetime ticket

Thirty-two years ago, 28 lucky people grabbed the greatest travel steal in history – the AAirpass from American Airlines. In 1980, for a one-time fee of $250k, the pass gave the buyer unlimited first-class travel with the option to add a companion pass. Twenty-eight people doesn’t seem like a lot but throughout the years, it’s come back to haunt American Airlines, costing them millions of dollars.

3. Tesla CyberTruck

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s newest vehicle – the CyberTruck. One of the many features showcased was ‘bulletproof glass’ to protect the driver. At the launch, in a display fit for a king, Tesla’s chief designer boldly threw a steel ball at the prototype’s doors and windows. They shattered. Not quite the opening Tesla had hoped for. Ouch!

4. LG Bent Phone Tweet Sent from iPhone

iPhone vs android is the Pepsi vs Coke of the 21st century. Respective fanbases are fervently loyal. With a ‘them or us’ mentality, it’s rare that an android user crosses over to the dark side and becomes an iPhone fan. We all remember bendgate, right? When Android Lord and Masters LG sent a cheeky tweet commenting on the iPhone’s ability to bend… from an iPhone! Not the best look to be poking fun at a competitor while using their product.


But the biggest PR nightmares will continue to haunt us – like the BP oil spill, United Airline’s forceful removal of a passenger, Boeing’s response to the Boeing 737 MAX catastrophic crashes, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan’s response to endless scandals and well, the pièce de resistance of them all – the Fraudulent College Moms of 2019.

This Halloween, be especially vigilant about your choices – you don’t want to join the next PR nightmare list in 2021! Boo!

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