I always find it interesting searching for successful PR campaigns to establish what makes them so good. I find it equally if not more interesting to look into PR disasters. Having googled the top PR fails, this one didn’t actually make the top 10, however i do think its one of the worst.
Last year i read the book ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foers, the book is enough to turn anyone veggie, although my love for fish and meat was able to withstand some of the awful things i read. The book documents his work undercover investigating slaughter house conditions, and the way the animals we eat are kept.
One particularly disturbing chapter to read was about the popular fast food franchise KFC. Before the book was published, KFC had previously been recognised as supplier of the year. Foers tells the story of workers being witnessed tearing the heads off live birds, spray-painting their faces and violently stomping on the animals numerous times. It is barbaric behaviour to read about.
I can find no online retaliation from KFC against these allegations, which is horrendous in terms of their public relations. When trying to locate any kind of reaction, apology or justification from KFC, i came across another interesting story about a customer finding a fried kidney in replace of what they expected to be a piece of fried chicken that they had ordered. This is a perfect example of how a substandard product can cause a PR disaster.
The customer was met with free meal vouchers as a reconciliation for the mistake, assuming the customer would ever want to eat their so called food again. Due to the mass amount of social media platforms now available to customers, places like KFC can no longer rely on their marketing and brand, issues (like finding a kidney instead of a chicken) with products are now being talked about by customers all over the world for everyone to see. The lack of crisis management on KFC’s behalf on such shocking mistakes, in my opinion, should warrant a place in the top 10 PR fails.