COMMENT: Sit up and take note. We've been getting a masterclass in how not to handle a media crisis recently, and those in the public eye need to pay attention.
With both brands and high-profile individuals demonstrating surprising levels of ignorance when it comes to public apologies, it seems that, in 2018, sorry is still the hardest word.
For those so used to being in the spotlight and understanding the power of popular opinion, it's startling to see their misjudged attempts at damage control.
However entertaining it may be to watch both backlash and backtracking, there are serious lessons to be learnt from this spate of media mistakes, and the offences themselves are no laughing matter.
Last week, Lord Alan Sugar sent a tweet comparing the Senegal national football team to those selling sunglasses and handbags on beaches, captioning a Photoshopped team photo with the words: "I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multi-tasking, resourceful chaps."
Although, of course, the tweet has since been deleted and replaced with the standard apology - "clearly my attempt at humour has backfired [...] I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry" - Lord Sugar's immediate response to criticism was defensive and antagonistic, telling those calling him out on his post: "You make me sick."
Currently, he's not forgiven and there were calls for the BBC to axe him as host of The Apprentice.
But Sugar is not alone in getting it wrong... and wrong again.
Millionaire YouTuber Alfie Deyes recently came under fire for a video where he challenged himself to live on £1 ($1.93) a day and was criticised for "gamifying" poverty.
However, what blew up on social media was his subsequent apology video where he repeatedly assured viewers that all is well by saying: "I'm not a Tory." He swiftly became an internet meme.
And it's not just individuals who don't seem to understand how saying sorry works. Rail firm Thameslink, in trying to pacify an irate customer over its timetable chaos, half-apologised by comparing its service to "Poundland cooking chocolate".
This didn't go down well with the discount chain and resulted in retail director Austin Cooke calling for Thameslink to delete the tweet, referencing his own "extremely twitchy legal team".
Cooke's response demonstrates that social media mistakes can do more than just damage reputation; they can have legal consequences too.
So why did these apologies go so badly wrong?
The common link between all three is a lack of honesty and willingness to accept blame.
They're classic cases of the "I'm sorry you're upset" tactic favoured by the passive aggressive. It doesn't work in personal relationships and it certainly doesn't work for public figures or multimillion-pound brands.
The reason KFC's much-lauded apology campaign, rearranging its letters to a near-expletive, was so successful was because it held its hands up to the problem, expressing its "huge apologies" and "endless thanks" to staff members and customers.
In media crises, honesty really is the best policy, as is properly acknowledging the severity of a mistake.
Of course, the tone of the apology needs to match the offence. KFC's humour worked because the initial mistake was a logistical mistake, not a social faux pas.
It seems public figures still need to learn that with great media power comes great responsibility. There's a duty to be socially aware. Social media masquerades as transitory, but the power of the screen grab means tweets are as indelible as print and there's no divide between public statement and private aside.
And though we want our leaders to have personality and authenticity, there's a difference between having the common touch and forgetting the weight words carry.
Social media wields political power, whether people wish to acknowledge this or not.
Though president Trump may give the impression he can write whatever he likes and get away with it, the idea that social media has limited real-world impact is both dangerous and untrue.
The president's Twitter war with Amazon this April was linked to a fall in the share price of the internet retailer, and foreign leaders are constantly on tenterhooks as to whether his next antagonistic post will endanger world peace and diplomacy.
These latest British examples of social media gone wrong are just further proof that the Facebook and Twitter accounts of public figures need as high a level of vetting as any campaign speech or television appearance.
Perhaps, for now, both Lord Sugar and Donald Trump's social media passwords should stay with their apprentices.
- Kevin Craig is the founder and chief executive of communications agency PLMR.
This story was first published in the Daily Telegraph and reproduced with their permission.