Shocking Stories From The PR Trenches

The hits keep coming, but not the media hits clients crave. Rather, today has surfaced a trio of PR faux pas’s that will surely leave those who’ve toiled in the business for any length of time scratching their heads.

The first offense involves a thin-skinned upstate New York hotel, built by the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers mind you, which thought that it could manage guests’ opinions about their stay. Incredulously, it threatened to charge its guests $500 for each negative review they posted online. If they deleted the review, the charge would be removed. I wonder what’s worse: paying guests for good online reviews or punishing them for bad ones?

The second ill-conceived idea emanated from the infamous Port Authority Bus Terminal in Times Square, and prompted a rather caustic, but hilarious segment from my new fave late night TV host John Oliver. Apparently, The Port Authority sent a cease and desist letter to Fish’s Eddy, a NYC boutique retailer of hotel and tourist attraction-branded ceramic plates and cups (mostly). Here’s Oliver’s segment, which speaks for itself.

Finally, as if those weren’t enough, we were treated to this PR stunt for a new anonymous social-sharing service trying to distinguish itself in a sea of apps appealing to the ephemeral-mined among us. In his piece titled “Anonymity app pulls off one of the worst tech PR stunts ever attempted,” Pando’s David Holmes shares a message from the “service” he and apparently many other top tier tech reporters received:

“But there is something suspicious about the messages my colleagues and I have received. For example, today I received one “from a coworker, anonymously” that read “I do not were panties today, and I’m in the same office.””

Yikes, and it’s only Monday!