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SUSAN G. KOMEN, MOUNTAIN DEW, BOY SCOUTS, PROGRESSIVE TOP 2012 PR BLUNDERS

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (December 17, 2012) — The 18th Annual Top 10 PR Blunders List, compiled by Fineman PR, features blunders by organizations that were impolitic, inappropriate, indelicate, insincere, ill-advised, and all of them preventable. Visit www.finemanpr.com to download full set of images, PR blunders back stories and analysis for each.

1. Pink Ribbon Pink Slip
When Susan G. Komen for the Cure ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood, a social media backlash followed, including sharp critiques from iconic women like author Judy Blume and Rep. Jackie Speier charging that funding was really cut due to the politics of some Komen executives.

2. “Mice No Match for Mountain Dew”
The legal defense of Mountain Dew maker PepsiCo misstepped in a lawsuit over an alleged dead mouse in a can, resulting in a rather unappetizing suggestion.

3. Unhelpful, Unfriendly, Discourteous and Unkind
The Boy Scouts of America battled the inclusion of openly gay scouts, appearing especially hypocritical in light of the ensuing release of internal sex abuse files never reported to authorities.

4. That’s Progressive?
Matt Fisher’s sister was insured by Progressive Insurance before she lost her life in a traffic accident, so when Fisher appeared in court during the trial of the driver at fault, he didn’t expect to see a Progressive lawyer assisting the defense.

5. “47 percent’ speech is 100 percent offensive”
When Mitt Romney was secretly taped saying 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes and think of themselves as “victims” – Romney was savaged by media and political opposition.

6. ‘Hurricane Sandy Sale’ a “major marketing fail”
Social media erupted when American Apparel urged consumers in states affected by super-storm Sandy to shop online during the disaster.

7. “Ball-dropping blunder” for Goodell and NFL
After the NFL and referees failed to agree, fans suffered through nearly four weeks of the regular season. For many, Commissioner Roger Goodell sacrificed the game’s integrity over a relatively small amount of money.

8. “Nobody wants a side of politics with their pizza”
Pizza magnate “Papa John” Schnatter was widely criticized for his stance against the Affordable Healthcare Act and his determination to circumvent it, alienating his own customers and potential employees.

9. “Dude, Where’s My Apology?”
Popchips “president of pop culture” Ashton Kutcher gained attention for all the wrong reasons for a string of racially charged ads. While Popchips quickly issued an apology, Kutcher remained silent.

10. “Rigged game” at Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual, an insurance company owned by its policyholders, came under fire after the exorbitant earnings of CEO Edmund F. “Ted” Kelly were disclosed by the media, $50 million earned annually from 2008 to 2010, and with covered expenses that included a $4.5 million executive bathroom renovation, all which Kelly was quoted as calling it “an accounting issue.”

About the Fineman PR Top 10 PR Blunders List
Since 1994, San Francisco-based Fineman PR, a consumer Brand PR and crisis communications firm, has assembled the annual PR Blunders List as a reminder that good public relations is critical to businesses and organizations. Selections are limited to Americans, American companies or offenses that occurred in America. Selections are limited to avoidable acts or omissions that caused adverse publicity; image damage was done to self, company, society or others; and acts that were widely reported in 2012. Fineman PR specializes in consumer public relations, crisis PR, food PR, Brand PR across a variety of industries. Find Fineman PR on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@finemanpr).

More on the 2012 PR Blunders

Pink Ribbon Pink Slip: When Susan G. Komen for the Cure ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood, a social media backlash followed, including critiques from iconic women like author Judy Blume.
Pink Ribbon Pink Slip: When Susan G. Komen for the Cure ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood, a social media backlash followed, including critiques from iconic women like author Judy Blume.
“Mice No Match for Mountain Dew”: The legal defense of Mountain Dew maker PepsiCo misstepped in a lawsuit over an alleged dead mouse in a can, resulting in a rather unappetizing suggestion.
“Mice No Match for Mountain Dew”: The legal defense of Mountain Dew maker PepsiCo misstepped in a lawsuit over an alleged dead mouse in a can, resulting in a rather unappetizing suggestion.
Unhelpful, Unfriendly, Discourteous and Unkind: The Boy Scouts of America battled the inclusion of openly gay scouts, appearing  hypocritical in light of the release of internal sex abuse files.
Unhelpful, Unfriendly, Discourteous and Unkind: The Boy Scouts of America battled the inclusion of openly gay scouts, appearing hypocritical in light of the release of internal sex abuse files.
That’s Progressive?: Matt Fisher’s sister was insured by Progressive before she lost her life in a traffic accident, so he didn’t expect to see a Progressive lawyer assisting the defense.
That’s Progressive?: Matt Fisher’s sister was insured by Progressive before she lost her life in a traffic accident, so he didn’t expect to see a Progressive lawyer assisting the defense.
“’47 percent' speech is 100 percent offensive”: Mitt Romney was savaged by media and political opposition when he was secretly taped dismissing 47% of Americans.
“’47 percent' speech is 100 percent offensive”: Mitt Romney was savaged by media and political opposition when he was secretly taped dismissing 47% of Americans.
Social media erupted when American Apparel urged consumers in states affected by super-storm Sandy to shop online during the disaster.
Social media erupted when American Apparel urged consumers in states affected by super-storm Sandy to shop online during the disaster.
After the NFL and referees failed to agree, fans suffered through nearly four weeks of the regular season.
After the NFL and referees failed to agree, fans suffered through nearly four weeks of the regular season.
“Papa John” Schnatter was widely criticized for his stance against the Affordable Healthcare Act and his determination to circumvent it.
“Papa John” Schnatter was widely criticized for his stance against the Affordable Healthcare Act and his determination to circumvent it.
Popchips “President of Pop Culture” Ashton Kutcher gained attention for all the wrong reasons for a string of racially charged ads.
Popchips “President of Pop Culture” Ashton Kutcher gained attention for all the wrong reasons for a string of racially charged ads.
Media disclosed the $50 million annual earnings of Liberty Mutual’s CEO from 2008 to 2010, with expenses that included a $4.5 million executive bathroom renovation.
Media disclosed the $50 million annual earnings of Liberty Mutual’s CEO from 2008 to 2010, with expenses that included a $4.5 million executive bathroom renovation.

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