I relentless observe my chosen profession with as much or more curiosity than I had in the beginning, oh so many years ago, and while it can all seem a bit like navel-gazing, I learn so much from what others do or do not do around public relations, social media, and corporate communications (more navel-gazing below.)

I am often drawn to the trickier situations, where there is no clear publicity winner or loser, and where there is an equal argument for both sides or approaches. As our nation seemingly becomes more divided, I am especially attuned to the politically tinged digital disasters, as we learn to navigate this new world, where traditional media is under attack, brands are politicized, and consumers can easily jump on a trending boycott with the swipe of a finger. And boy have I have been skewered a couple of times for even asking these types of questions (see below)!

For a review of previous Backflips & Bellyflops picks, click hereIf you would like to learn what NOT to do, check out these other posts:


Backflips


ASOS hilariously blurts out that they made a mistake and it just makes us laugh and like them more.

Kroger’s limits to food waste are admirable and are quite a contrast to Subway’s PRfail, below.

Kroger has an audacious plan to limit food waste and it turns out it’s also boosting staff pride. The grocer is undertaking a ‘moonshot’ initiative to drastically reduce its own environmental impact and end hunger in the U.S. The results so far are eye-opening—and award-winning. [From Robby Brumberg at PR Daily]

Popeye’s PR win is still winning this week!

For a review of previous Backflips & Bellyflops picks, click here.


Bellyflops


PR people are still sending random stuff to Journalists:

Apparently, RedBox is still trying to get media coverage?

It’s a UK thing, but it’s obviously bad because it blew up Twitter:

 

After #PRfail road bumps, Forever 21 has gone the way of Victoria’s Secret: Holding on to outdated body stereotypes, being too exclusive, and focusing on trends that clients grow out of quickly. They were fun, but sadly, everyone has to grow up sometimes & new teens are just too smart.

Honestly, most of the PR fails online come from public relations professionals and agencies. It is amazing that journalists are still so kind and do not mention companies by name.

#JimmyJohns has a beast of an issue…

@DoorDash might, we’re not sure, still be taking employees tips…

DoorDash is still pocketing workers’ tips, almost a month after it promised to stop | It’s been almost a month since the delivery company promised workers it would offer details about its new tipping policy “in the coming days.” ~ By 

Public Relations pros are constantly doing bellyflops with their poor pitching practices, as evidenced on Twitters #PRfail hashtage. Seems like I am shouting to the wind and there is not much to be done about it. Journalists complain, but do not really feel that it is worth the time to do anythign about it. In my teeny, tiny poll, only 36% of the professionals thought that responding to the sender of an off pitch was worth the time.

For a review of previous Backflips & Bellyflops picks, click hereIf you would like to learn what NOT to do, check out these other posts:


Why Backflips & Bellyflops?

man doing backflipOver on Linkedin, I was included as the top commentator by the Editorial team for my Wayfair post and the implications of their involvement with ICE and the subsequent employee walkout. I ended up deleting about a dozen racist comments and scolding a dozen more people (out of about 100 comments) for being bullies. I thought we could have a branding conversation, but oh no, it hit a lot of nerves – hard!I am often drawn to the trickier situations, where there is no clear publicity winner or loser, and where there is an equal argument for both sides or approaches. As our nation seemingly becomes more divided, I am especially attuned to the politically tinged digital disasters, as we learn to navigate this new world, where traditional media is under attack, brands are politicized, and consumers can easily jump on a trending boycott with the swipe of a finger. And boy have I have been skewered a couple of times for even asking these types of questions!

Viewing the more traditional social media posts, I find the #PRfail to be a daily occurrence with so many companies operating on social media, and clearly so few having an idea as to how to interact with media or the general population. And it’s not just me watching. Media outlets often report on blockbuster PR fails, such as Bulldog Reporter’s recent article, Seven PR nightmares you’ll never believe happened. These are oldies but goodies and you think history won’t repeat itself, but it does. Every. Single. Day.

ScanWhile admittedly, I mostly critique with snarky comments and arm-chair quarterbacking, what I have come to realize is that there is rarely a clear winner or loser in all of this. I long to find a scenario where the situation is black and white and an organization clearly did something wrong. Those are easy to dissect and share lessons about. More and more I find myself commenting that I can see both sides.

I was going to call this column PR Fail Friday (where I tweet a similar list on Fridays under #PRFailFriday), but it’s not only the failures that we need to observe. We have to look at the success and the much more frequent issues that fall somewhere in the middle. So while I intended to show the good and the bad, plainly divided into two categories – backflips for the wins and bellyflops for the losses – many of my examples will be both. Maybe I should call those backflops or bellyflips. Not sure yet, but I will continue to add to this piece with examples and I would love your comments and feedback.