Blundering in 2016 - top PR fails

As cricketer Chris Gayle leads the way into 2016 by hitting a PR blunder out of the ground through hitting on a TV interviewer live on air earlier this month - who will be able to forget "don't blush baby"? – we thought that an ideal way to celebrate the start of 2016 might be to look back at some of the top PR fails of the last 12 months:

Mitchell Pearce and the dog: Although it must be pretty confusing to be an NRL player – expected to be a warrior on the pitch and a monk off it – let's face it it's not a great look to mime having sex with a dog, and what he said - and the unwanted physical advances - were even worse.

Volkswagen: 'If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen': so ran the famous ad campaign in the 1980s. And then we found out that Volkswagen had been intentionally fudging emissions tests for years on about 11 million cars worldwide. Volkswagen's stock price fell by a third after the news, and Group CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned amid a flurry of other suspensions. Volkswagen has since announced that it intends to spend US$7.3 billion on rectifying the emissions issues.

Kylie Jenner: the Kardashian/Jenner clan seem to need publicity like the rest of us need oxygen, and the lengths they go to for exposure plumbed new depths when Kylie Jenner posed for the front cover of Interview magazine in a gold wheelchair. The tasteful little scene sparked worldwide outrage, irritatingly drawing interest to themselves at the same time. They probably didn't care.

Vogue and the homeless: In another notch for the fashion world, Vogue Style's spectacularly-named Editor-at-Large Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis came out with a not-so-fashionable post on the homeless on Instagram. Vogue swiftly distanced the magazine from the comments and apologised, but the fail had been committed and, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, captured.

IHOP joke falls flat: American pancake chain International House Of Pancakes came to global prominence thanks to the power of failing at PR. It made a tweet about pancakes that doubled as an insult to flat-chested women. Once again, it apologised quickly, but the damage had been done…

Nick Kyrgios: let's face it, he's a walking, talking, serving PR disaster: the ace of the PR blunders world. It's hard to find just one incidence of his fails, and newspaper The Australian put it best in its headline: Nick Kyrgios: Breath of fresh air or a total dickhead? From tantrums to tirades, arrogance and assaults, Nick sure knows how to win the crowd over. However, this column loves you Nick, and we look forward to reporting on your no-doubt many 2016 efforts this time next year.

…and if you have more time to waste on this excellent topic, you really should read this article on some even more outrageous PR fails in the UK newspaper The Mirror:


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