Here is the list of the year’s biggest PR disasters that I shared during an interview with 850 KOA this morning:
Last year, the Tiger Woods sex scandal was the gold standard for PR debacles. This year, that honor belongs to BP. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was enough to put them on anyone’s list, but it was the company’s response that catapulted them to the top. Doctored photos, attempts to strong-arm locals into signing liability waivers, and one gaffe after another from CEO Tony Hayward – “It wasn’t our accident … I just want my life back …” Remember, 11 people died when the rig exploded and thousands of lives were devastated in the aftermath. No one wanted to hear him complain about how unfair he felt he was being treated.
The overwhelming safety and reliability issues were bad enough, but the countless recalls and the appearance of a company trying to hide safety problems rather than fix them really shook a lot of people’s faith in Toyota. The good news for Toyota is that it has decades’ worth of goodwill built up with the American public. If it can fix the safety issues, the brand should be fine over the long run.