Halloween is right around the corner and while most people find Mike Myers or Chucky terrifying, public relations practitioners have other fears on their mind: bad advertisement, company blunders, and racially insensitive remarks. All these elements make crisis communication important for maintaining a company or celebrity’s image.
Let’s take a look at some of the recent mishaps and blunders that had crisis communication managers shaking.
The H&M Monkey Hoodie
Twitter went wild when H&M dropped an ad featuring a young African-American boy wearing a hoodie that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
People claimed the ad was racially insensitive, especially because the white boy in the campaign was wearing a completely different hoodie. Critics questioned the diversity in H&M’s marketing team and their lack of cultural sensitivity.
H&M issued an apology statement that read, “We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top . . . We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid future issues.” They followed up by removing the hoodie from all online stores and promising it would not be for sale.
Most people were skeptical of this apology considering this wasn’t the first time H&M has been problematic. They have had incident with their South African branch when someone mentioned there were no black models and their tweets basically stated that white models portrayed positivity. Prior to this incident, H&M sold Native American headdresses as costumes and also offended people with a shirt featuring the Star of David with a skull in the middle. It was no surprise that people were fed up and threatened to boycott the store.
Roseanne Barr Single-Handedly Ending Her Career
Roseanne Barr just had her show Roseanne revived, just to have it canceled again. The celebrity made a ridiculously racist comment about one of Obama’s former advisors.
Instead of apologizing, Roseanne went on multiple rants in an effort to excuse her actions and stated that it was “a joke.”
ABC decided that her comments were completely uncalled for and looked bad for their brand.
They ended up taking Roseanne and making a spinoff called The Conners that didn’t include her.
The Dove Campaign that Missed Every Mark
Dove published an ad on Facebook featuring a video clip where a black woman turned white after using lotion. Twitter went on a rampage, calling the ad racist and claiming that this drew connections that black is dirty and white is pure. Dove claimed that they “missed the mark.”
However, most wondered if they were anywhere close to it because no one knows what the ad was actually trying to say.
The Fake Hawaii Missile Threat
Panic ensued when Hawaii issued an emergency alert about an incoming ballistic missile threat. The alert warned people to seek shelter immediately and that it wasn’t a drill. This was probably the worst timing for such a mistake considering everyone was already on high alert because of the U.S.’s tension with other countries.
It was later discovered that someone had accidentally pushed the wrong button, causing mass hysteria. Of course that person was fired, and everyone was eventually notified that it was a false alarm.