PR Horror Stories

Since it’s Halloween, I have decided to share some spooky and frightfully scary PR horror stories. Anyone in Public Relations could tell you that sometimes, PR can go dramatically wrong. Keep reading for some dreadful tales that will make your skin crawl and haunt your dreams.

Krispy Kreme

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During the launch of a new social event, Krispy Kreme decided to make the “Krispy Kreme Club”. However, switching the C for a K, made for some very unhappy costumers. Lessons learned? Always remember to double check for grammatical errors. Always, always remember to be culturally sensitive.

The McAfrica 


In 2002, McDonalds released a burger where flavors were inspired by Africa. While releasing a burger inspired by the taste of a particular continent isn’t a bad idea, releasing a burger about a continent where 12 million people are starving is. McDonalds’ insensitive campaign received a lot of negative attention in the media and reminds us to never rush your marketing tools. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.


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Sold at Urban Outiftters, the board game switches houses with ‘crack houses’ and the traditional dog and boat to a ‘hoe and gun’. Ghettopoly was criticized as being a corporately supported denigration of African Americans. After much public backlash, stores eventually stopped selling the game. This PR fail teaches us to only endorse or sell products that align with your company’s values.

These PR horror stories make me wonder how  these events happen in the first place without a single person ever saying this is a horrible idea. Don’t let your marketing strategy turn into a horror movie. Learn from these haunting mistakes so they never happen again.

Share your spooky and scary PR horror stories below.


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