Every month here at Alice PR we post our stand-out ‘ PR Moments of the month ’, from fails to wins.

We took a vote and present to you our top moments from March.

What are yours? Let us know in the comments section. #PRMomentsOfTheMonth

First up on our PR Moments list this month is that pint!

PR MomentsThis image caused consternation amongst Guinness-drinkers worldwide (well, in Ireland in particular!) and caught the eye of anyone who knows how a pint of Guinness should really look.

It  came to our attention – like most things –  through social media, where it had gone “viral”. Going viral is something that a lot of brands strive for, but which can be very hard to achieve.  It also attracted wide-ranging coverage in Irish media outlets – and further afield.

Sometimes when a post is being shared for all the wrong reasons and attracting negative commentary online, it can cause a crisis scenario for the brand in question.  How do they react?  Do they remove the offending post?  Do they react defensively to criticisms?  In this case, Railtown Café took it all in their stride – in their response, the tone was kept good-natured.  They were apologetic and offered a convincing explanation for the offending pic.  And – best of all – they committed to giving free pints of Guinness and shots of whiskey to any Irish customers who visited their venue on St. Patrick’s Day!  In short, they followed the basic rules of crisis comms:

  • Admit your mistake and take ownership for it;
  • Act to resolve the crisis;
  • Keep your audiences informed about what’s going on; and
  • Act to restore your reputation.

One slight gripe we have with this example is that Railtown Café removed the offending photo from their social media accounts and replaced it with a new, improved one – along with their apology for their mistake.  I’m not in favour of deleting social media posts – except in very rare circumstances.  I’d prefer to have seen them leaving up the original post (and I’d be intrigued to see how many times it was shared and commented on!) and then posting their apology and improved pic alongside it.  I’m also intrigued as to whether or not this was a genuine error – or a genius marketing ploy?

PR MomentSocial Media and The Westminster Attack

A week ago we were all shocked and saddened to hear of the terror attack that took place at Westminster. The news started to spread shortly after lunch time last Wednesday and as with all of these events, most of us saw it unfolding via social media, or on news websites.

Social media has a very positive role to play in circumstances like this: enabling news to be distributed quickly; ensuring that people don’t go near the affected area and spreading news to family members that their loved ones are safe; or it can help relatives to trace people caught up in the chaos. However there is a downside too.

Last week saw people scrambling not to get away from the scene but to get closer, to capture the first photos and videos of a freshly unfolding scene of terror, despite the fact that they could be in danger themselves. The family of an American man killed (whose wife was also injured) found out they were caught up in the attack when they saw the photos online – before they had received any official notification. This is extremely distasteful and serves no purpose.

The publication of such distasteful and graphic images was not just restricted to the average Joe on the street, Reuters fell foul of “the thirst to be first” by publishing identifiable images of severely injured victims minutes after the attack. Channel 4 News got involved too by  announcing the wrong person as the suspect, only to have to backtrack within minutes that that person is in fact in prison and could not have been responsible.

Publishing incorrect information or taking photos like this, breaks the code on privacy and intrusion into grief/shock, not to mention the moral code of basic decency.

News channel Al Jazeera also came in for criticism during their Facebook Live broadcast about the unfolding Westminster story as people were clicking on the ‘Like’ and ‘Joy’ emoticon during their broadcast. Al Jazeera responded head-on with a piece on ‘Social Media Distortion’, discussing the use of emojis, and how to interpret the intent of an emoji. It’s an interesting piece and can be watched here: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/news/2017/03/social-media-distortion-westminster-attack-170323171908445.html

PR Moment#MailFail

We recently celebrated International Women’s Day and as an all woman team here at Alice PR, we were excited to share our list of women who inspire us. But despite this, and the fact that it’s 2017, we still have things like this front page from The Daily Mail. The sad fact is that this happens and we have to give consideration to it.

With female clients posing for pictures, you need to take a million things into consideration that don’t matter with male clients – including how much flesh will be on display in the end-result photo and how likely irresponsible newspapers will be to manipulate the image for sexist purposes.

Do you have suggestions for other #wins and #fails for  ‘ PR Moment of the Month’? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Simply post them in the comments section below.

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