Public relations fails can affect any company and negative public opinion is hard to change, and the brand has to fight with the consequences for a long time, according to Sandra Krisberga, CEO of Latvian Public Relations Consultancies Association (LPRCA).
Coca-Cola’s fail over Russian-annexed Crimea
In its Christmas greeting published on the social network VKontakte Russian unit of Coca-Cola did not include the Crimea, Kaliningrad and Kuril Islands in a stylized map of Russia. After a storm of indignation Coca-Cola apologized and published a new version of the map. Russian people’s joy of the fact that a large multinational corporation recognizes Crimean annexation as legal was brief. Reminding of the occupation of the peninsula, resentful Ukrainian people made the hashtag #banCocaCola a trend on Twitter.
The brawl ended at a fairly high level. Awkward map was removed from the network altogether, and the head of Coca-Cola Washington office Cate Irvine officially apologized to Ukraine. This «technical error» was committed by an agency that prepares corporate content and places it in social networks.
Volkswagen diesel engines not that clean
Independent tests revealed that the Volkswagen (VW) EA 189 type diesel engine produces 35 times more pollution than permitted. After a brief pretence of technical errors the company admitted that up to 11 million cars are equipped with special programs that allow to fake harmful emissions’ readings. The chairman of the board Martin Vinterkorn apologized and left his post. True, until the end of the year he will continue to receive a salary which exceeds ten million euros.
The scandal has already cost VW nearly 26 billion U.S. dollars and caused significant sales decline in several countries. In the European Union the concern has to withdraw 8.5 million cars, including about 5,000 units in Latvia.
«Correct» pharmaceutical business – the price of medicines increases many times
When Martin Shkreli bought «Turing Pharmaceuticals», hardly anybody guessed that soon he would become «the most hated man in America» and will be referred to as «morally bankrupt sociopath».
Shkreli raised from 13.50 US dollars to 750 US dollars the price for toxoplasmosis drugs «Daraprim» produced by the company. Shkreli dubbed one reporter «a man with mental disabilities», while recognizing later that mistakes had been made explaining the price growth. Press, in his opinion, does not understand the pharmaceutical business.
In December Shkreli was detained in connection with possible manipulation with securities and a theft of 11 million US dollars. He also had to step down from the post of the executive director of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
Does 35 minutes drive really costs 12 thousand dollars?
Jaime Hesel with Uber taxi in New York wanted to get from the East Williamsburg to Midtown. It is 6.79 miles long 35-minute ride. She got a 56.40 US dollar bill. Hesel disputed it because the driver got lost. Uber accepted the objections and offered 15 dollar discount.
This was followed by a surprise – the company tried to collect 16 000 dollars, while offering a 4000 dollars compensation. After a fierce correspondence a new bill was delivered… in the amount of 16 000 dollars. Uber tried to justify itself that the error was caused by the «human factor». The whole sum was returned to Hesel however she admits that it is unlikely she will still use the service of Uber with this credit card.
Uber also operates in Tallinn, and the published job ads last year suggest that it may soon be available in Latvia and Lithuania as well.