Note 7 to 'nipplegate' - 10 PR disasters

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PR disasters can strike a corporation at any time. Photo / AP
PR disasters can strike a corporation at any time. Photo / AP

Samsung's faulty Galaxy Note 7 may be causing headaches for the company but it's not the first time - and it won't be the last - that a brand finds itself in a PR nightmare. We take a look at ten of the top PR disasters.

Bridgestone tire debacle
In 1988, Bridgestone tires began receiving complaints about tire treads separating resulting in accidents. In 2000, they announced a recall of 6.5 million tires after a large-scale investigation in the US.

"Touch of Yoghurt" shampoo
Beauty and hygiene companies have begun incorporating natural food ingredients into products over the years with Clairol creating the Touch of Yoghurt shampoo. Many consumers became confused however and tried to eat the shampoo with several becoming quite sick.

Financial benefit to smoking
American tobacco giant Philip Morris released the results of a study it had conducted attempting to prove that smoking was financially beneficial for the government. In its study, the company said money was saved in health-care, pension and public housing costs, "due to the early deaths of smokers".

This didn't go down too well and the company canned further studies on the subject.

Fashion faux pas
Clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire in 2002 for releasing a line of t-shirts depicting caricatures of Asian stereotypes. When asked about it, the company said, "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt". This was followed up a month later with the release of racy g-strings in childrens' sizes aimed at girls aged 10-14.

Racist boardgame
"Get rich by buying stolen properties, pimpin' hoes, building crack houses and getting car jacked!" - lines from Urban Outfitters 2003 Ghettopoly game, a twist on traditional monopoly. Customers were quick to complain about what they said was a racist board game and inappropriate with cards such as "You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50".

Problem painkillers
Pharmaceutical giant Merck faced hundreds of lawsuits in 2004 after it continued to sell painkiller Vioxx even though preliminary studies suggested it posed a potential heart health risk. The product was recalled but the business came under fire after reports that it knew about the risk and continued to promote the drug. In 2009, Merck finally settled litigation for a reported US$80 million.

Cartoon Network causes bomb scare
In 2007 to promote its latest show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force", television channel Cartoon Network placed light up signs in random public places. Unfortunately members of the public thought the devices were bombs, and police were inundated with phone calls. Bomb squads were deployed, and parts of the subway system were shut down for a period of time. The head of Cartoon Network eventually resigned over the incident.

Bailout money for corporate retreat
Insurance company AIG received $85 billion in government bailout money in 2008 after hitting financial issues. Just a week later however, the company spent a reported just under half a million on a corporate retreat at the St. Regis in California, prompting condemnation from the White House.

Deadly Pinto
The Ford Pinto tops the list for many as one of the worst cars produced after it was revealed it had a tendency to erupt in flames in rear-end collisions. The company eventually issued a recall of 1.5 million of the cars, however not before it caused an estimated 180 deaths.

Janet Jackson's famous wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl resulted in 540,000 complaints from viewers and a fine of $550,000 for network CBS. Since the event, often referred to as "Nipplegate", networks have implemented tape delays to live broadcasts and imposed stricter regulation on halftime shows.

- NZ Herald

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