Five PR Tragedies That Shouldn't Be Repeated this Year — Or Ever


Public relations is hard, y'all. Liz and Liz, the ladies of PubLIZity (one of whom bears a striking resemblance to comedian Nick Kroll...), routinely prove that on Comedy Central's Kroll Show. But! They're not alone in their cluelessness. Below are five PR follies that captured our hearts and eyeballs in 2013. The fallout was brutal, but mayhaps the involved parties have learned a lesson or two? (But hopefully not. Otherwise, what else will entertain America?)

The Tweet Heard 'Round the World

You'd think a PR executive employed by a leading media company would know how Twitter works (share something atrocious and get your ass handed to you), but you'd be wrong! Christmas came early for the Internet on December 20, when a loaded tweet from a PR girl packed AIDS, race, and a whole lotta ignorance into 140 characters. The tweeter then hopped on a plane to Africa, where she remained ensconced for 12 hours — blissfully unaware that her "joke" had gone viral. Meanwhile, the viewers at home anxiously awaited her plane's landing and her subsequent firing. Lesson: Don't be a dolt in public.


Writer Refuses to Work for Free, Gets Called a Working Girl in Response

To make the mistake of asking a well-established scientist and writer to work for free is forgivable, but to call her an "urban whore" when she politely declines is asking for one thousand Internets to unleash their fury on your bigoted peabrain. This story got legs when the scientist wrote about the upsetting exchange in her column, which focuses on, among other things, "shar[ing] science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups." But the prestigious website that publishes said column felt a post exposing unchecked sexism and racism in the scientific field was not science-y enough (despite having published several non-science-y articles; "This is Not a Post About Discovering Science," for example). Thus, the publication swiftly and silently erased the scientist's experience from the Internet without so much as a condolence call. That is some shady tooth fairy-type-shit. Everyone eventually apologized, because they always do, but you know the old Internet adage: "We can forgive, but we will never forget." Lesson: Be on the right side of Internet rage.

Journalistic Integrity, Schmournalistic Integrity

In a move that even PR firms found trashy, this business blogger sought bribes from agencies in exchange for positive coverage in a leading publication. Unfortunately for him, that publication actually adheres to its strict ethical standards and canned him when he was exposed. Apparently, helping small companies grow doesn't involve wielding the tiny bit of power you have to solicit money from them. Who knew? Lesson: Pay for your own plane tickets, dude.


Will Shill for Food

This tale of a suburban mom offering up positive restaurant reviews in exchange for free meals would be endearing if it weren't so shilltastic. The blogger in question promised to favorably promote any area restaurant willing to give her family a $1,000 dining experience on Christmas Eve. Promoting, in this context, apparently means posting five pictures of her dazzling night out to her Instagram account — which boasts a whopping 560 followers, thankyouverymuch. But wait, there's more! She also promised to promote the restaurant on Facebook and offered to part with valuable ad space on her website in exchange for the meal, which, remember, must take place on Christmas Eve. Lesson: If this is what you consider to be "holiday spirit," somebody taught you wrong.


America's Next Top Imaginary Girlfriend

Whether you're shaking off your mother who'd like to be a grandmother sometime before she dies, or escaping the clutches of whatever desperate barfly the cat dragged in, it's perfectly normal to lie about having a significant other. Lying about a dead girlfriend? Iffy, but it depends on the context...maybe. Lying about a dead girlfriend to propel your football career to new heights and become a national treasure/sob story? Bold move. You know all the gory details, but why not relive The Great Girlfriend Hoax of 2013 here? Lesson: Don't mix business with imaginary dead girlfriends.


Of course, Liz and Liz would never screw up this bad. Probably. Find out by tuning in to season 2 of Kroll Show tonight (and every Tuesday) at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central.


This post is a sponsored collaboration between Comedy Central and Studio@Gawker.

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