5 Honest Mistakes That Became PR Disasters for Big Companies
If companies were people, a lot of them would be insensitive jackasses, compulsive liars, or just plain awful human beings. But we're not here to talk about those jerks. We're here to talk about corporations that are just like that guy at the park you see accidentally trick-shooting a Frisbee off a blind nun's head -- these are the schmos who manage to piss everyone off through sheer bad luck.
Heineken Randomly Selects a Photo, Picks an Anti-Alcoholism Leader
When a Heineken-owned cider brand decided to put out an ad celebrating their historic benefactor, they couldn't find any pictures of the actual guy. The solution? Turn to an image bank and buy a Victorian-era photo of some other mustachioed gentleman, because who's gonna know the difference?
"He looks a little serious. Can we Photoshop him in a beer cozy hat?"
It's a strategy that would work about 99.99 percent of the time -- had the image they pulled not been that of prominent Methodist and double-name champion Hugh Price Hughes, a man historically known for his work helping alcoholics recover. You know, from the same stuff the ad was selling. Needless to say, church people found that in poor taste, causing Heineken to apologize profusely and donate money (otherwise known as "going to church").
Woolworths' Word Search Puzzle Generator Drops an F-Bomb
Notice anything unusual in this puzzle from a Woolworths supermarket activity book?
Is it "REDEFAP"? We have no idea what it means, but it sounds dirty.
Here, we'll give you a little hint:
That's right -- among such hidden gems as "rain forests" and "butterfly," Woolworths has also taught kids how to swear like a 16-year-old on YouTube with a hearty "FUCK U." Add to this the fact that the following letters are "A CEO" and it looks like some big shot is quitting his job in the most roundabout way possible.
However, the now very public controversy has since been blamed on the fact that the chain's puzzles are randomly generated, meaning that out of all possible letter combinations, it was through astonishing bad luck that the computer landed on this one. That, or we're witnessing the first passive-aggressive robot uprising.
Czech News Station's Random Background Documentary Plays Right at the Penis Part
Have you ever stopped to pay attention to all the screens behind a newscaster while he or she reads the news? Usually they show completely random images culled from documentaries and other news shows just to make the place look super busy and exciting. One Czech news station apparently took that last part a little too seriously:
Someone in graphics was DMing with Anthony Weiner.
While only lasting for a second of the live broadcast, it was long enough for people to realize that they just saw a penis Fight Club-style in the middle of the afternoon. The station apologized for the (cock up? boner?) little boo-boo, explaining that it was the result of a poorly cued documentary playing in the background. (The Making of Cumlord Vixens 17 has now been banned from being used on the show again.)
Delta Randomly Generates Gay-Hating Boarding Code
Say you're checking into a Delta Airlines flight and out of pure boredom you decide to look at the confirmation slip they handed you. That's when you realize that, to the right of your name, there's a code that could double as the most rear-ended vanity plate ever:
Yep. H8GAYS. The traveling student who received this code feared that people would assume he requested it himself, making him look like an extremely ineffective anti-gay activist who only pushes his beliefs on the most eagle-eyed of TSA agents. After going to the news, Delta actually had to apologize for its number generator's hate speech. Yep, this was the bad PR equivalent of winning the Powerball. Delta promised it wouldn't happen again, and the computer will now be undertaking some mandatory sensitivity training.
Costco's Distributor Mislabels Some Bibles, Causes a Religious Shitstorm
"Wow, you can even get blasphemy in bulk."
People reacted as if America's favorite bulk food store had outright shown its allegiance to the dark lord Satan, a move that would be unsurprising for a place that sells mayonnaise by the gallon. Costco then revealed that this was a simple mislabeling by their distributor on a small percentage of Bibles.
In other words, out of all the Costco stores in the Los Angeles area, the mislabeled Bibles just happened to be shipped to the one visited by a pastor with a decent Twitter follower count. It kind of makes you want to believe in something, but damned if we can figure out what.
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