Denver PR Blog

The Year in Review: 2011 Public Relations Disasters
December 29, 2011, 7:00 am
Filed under: Public Relations

Here is the list of the year’s biggest PR disasters that I shared during an interview with 850 KOA’s April Zesbaugh this morning:


Penn State University
Two years ago, Tiger Woods was the gold standard for PR debacles. Last year, it was the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. This year, that “honor” belongs to Penn State. In a matter of weeks, the university went from one of the nation’s most revered to one of the most reviled following its response – or more accurately its lack of a response – to a horrible child sex abuse scandal that saw two administrators indicted, a former assistant coach arrested and football coaching legend Joe Paterno fired. Making the situation even worse from a public relations perspective, the university had access to grand jury information for months and was still unprepared to deal with the fallout.

Netflix was riding high as one of the few positive business stories in 2011. Subscriber numbers were up and the stock continued to defy the bleak economy. And then Netflix got cocky. The company inexplicably surprised customers and Wall Street by announcing a huge price increase as part of a plan to separate its streaming and DVD-by-mail services. Consumers reacted by canceling their service in droves, forcing Netflix to quickly backtrack and abandon its plans. But the damage was already done. The company lost more than a million subscribers and its stock price has dropped 75 percent from its highs this past summer.

Bank of America
Banks have joined oil companies as the businesses that people love to hate, and Bank of America felt that wrath in 2011. Bank of America badly underestimated the populist outrage that existed due to the bank bailouts when it announced a plan to introduce a $5 monthly fee for its debit card users. Bank of America expected other banks to quickly join it in charging the fee, but consumer outrage spread almost virally, leaving the bank on its own as Continue reading

9News Investigates Second Kirsten Hamling Non-Profit
December 23, 2011, 9:57 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications

9News’ Anastasiya Bolton is looking into the details of a second non-profit organization affiliated with Traction Communications’ Kirsten Hamling.

JohnstonWells’ 40th Anniversary Celebration Continues
December 23, 2011, 9:51 am
Filed under: Johnston Wells

JohnstonWells announced that it has delivered 40 pairs of socks to the Delores Project, a homeless shelter for women, as part of its 40th anniversary celebration. As part of the ongoing celebration, “JohnstonWells has pledged to do something every 40 days from its 40th anniversary on Oct. 1.”

Amelie Company Hires Four
December 23, 2011, 9:45 am
Filed under: Jobs

Amélie Company added Lexie Alcon as PR account executive, Andrew Hoffman as designer, and Brittany Tangsrud and Jean-Baptiste Deloffre as account executives.

Emphasis Adds Client
December 23, 2011, 9:37 am
Filed under: Wins

Emphasis Marketing & Communications has added Denver start up F³ Designs as a client. Emphasis will assist F³ with the launch of its debut product, an iPad case.

Great Moments in Journalism XXXIX
December 21, 2011, 1:34 pm
Filed under: journalism

Today’s passive-aggressive weather report is sponsored by KTLA:

Hat tip: Julie Scott (@jascott)

SE2 ‘Embraces Candor’ in Annual Holiday Letter
December 21, 2011, 11:40 am
Filed under: SE2

Everybody talks a good game when it comes to authenticity and transparency, but SE2 has stepped its game up and offered readers of its annual holiday letter a behind-the-scenes look at the editing process: