Tag Archives: offensive

Coca-Cola loses its fizz after insulting customer

22 Sep

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Have you heard the one about Coca-Cola calling one of its customers a ‘retard‘ via its latest promotion?

Ok, maybe you haven’t because it happened in Canada. But here’s what happened:

Blake Loates bought home a bottle of Coca-Cola’s Vitamin Water earlier this week and she was in for a shock when she unscrewed the cap, which read ‘You Retard’ on the inside. Some people may have found it funny (personally I don’t, and even less so coming from a global brand) but Blake certainly didn’t because her sister suffers from cerebral palsy.

Her father wrote a letter of disgust forcing Coca-Cola to own up to its politically incorrect mistake – which it did quite well. But the reason the brand manager (or PR) cited for the inappropriate wording was a language mix up (‘retard’ meaning ‘delayed’ or ‘late’ in French), which relates a wider promotion the brand was running.

The fact that more people may have or will continue to open up the phrase before the manufacturing process is discontinued is shocking – and the fact that Coca-Cola has undone its apology to the family, by not noticing the mistake long before it went public, is dumb.

There’s some small-scale crisis management to be done now, in my opinion, because consumers won’t remember the story being a water bottle lid ‘lost in translation’, it’ll become ‘Coca-Cola calls cerebral palsy teenager a retard’. But for some reason the drinks company has put this issue to the bottom of its ‘to do’ list as it looks to push ahead with its international obesity campaign.

Of course a stunt like this won’t damage a brand like that, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t show empathy. I’d have liked to have seen Coca-Cola show some personality by making the Loates family feel like a valued customer and sending some freebies. Essentially, the company needs the family to publicly say the right things to override the negative comments so everyone can see that the situation was dealt with.

This time, Coca-Cola might not have lost its bottle with the complaint, but it’s certainly lost its fizz.

Would this bad PR put you off your favourite soft drink?

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I can’t keep up with Paddy Power’s pants

14 Mar

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It seems that bookmaker Paddy Power has run out of its ‘luck of the Irish’ after its latest PR stunt insulted Cheltenham Festival organisers.

What is this offending article? A 60-ft pair of pants. Yes, you heard me -pants.

Paddy commissioned a giant airship to float above the race track – to give punters some of the best seats in the house (albeit in the air.) But it’s not about their customers at all; it’s just a brand attack on a prestigious event.

Thankfully, it didn’t last long. Cheltenham organisers liaised with the Civil Aviation Authority and requested Paddy to take his pants down – despite the light aircraft being tethered to a private garden.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power maintained that the stunt didnt infringe on people’s enjoyment of the races and made clear that the pants would fly again.

I can’t fault Paddy for its winning formula for demanding media attention, but this latest move just reeks of desperation. I don’t believe a brand like this has to ‘do’ cheap – it’s much smarter than that.

So, pants on, belt up and do things properly next time. Agree?

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