APologies & Regrets, Inc.

This meme summed up a week of PR damage.

I may open a public relations firm named Apologies & Regrets, Inc. I could have made a fortune last week if my clients were Pepsi, United Airlines and Sean Spicer. Each of them created a PR mess followed by various degrees of apologies:

Sean Spicer: The White House press secretary, commenting on Syrian President Assad’s use of chemical gas on his own people, compared Assad to Nazi Germany. “(Even) someone as despicable as Hitler…didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” he told reporters, forgetting that millions of people were gassed in death camps. “(Hitler) was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.” Spicer deepened the hole by referring to a concentration camp as a “Holocaust center.” As outrage swelled, Spicer apologized repeatedly and effectively, calling his gaffe “inexcusable” and “reprehensible.”

Pepsi: After posting a commercial starring Kendall Jenner to YouTube, the beverage company soon deleted it. The New York Times reported, “Pepsi has apologized for a controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, after a day of intense criticism from people who said it trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by the police.” The appropriate statement read, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.”

United: After video of a passenger being violently dragged off a plane went viral, United CEO Oscar Munez inappropriately apologized for “having to re-accommodate…customers.” He then fueled public anger with a message to his employees, describing the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent,” adding, “employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this.” On his third try, Munoz stated, “We take full responsibility and we will work to make it right. I promise you we will do better.” Too little, too late.

Apologies & Regrets, Inc. would advise that “I’m sorrys” are almost always necessary to repair public relations damage. Spicer’s and Pepsi’s timely, sincere apologies may have calmed their controversies while Munez’s slow, inappropriate response has become another case study in “what was he thinking?” Your thoughts?

54 thoughts on “APologies & Regrets, Inc.

  1. Sabrina O'Neil

    It really baffles me that these crises even occurred in the first place. Do people think before they speak or act? Apologizing in a timely manner is definitely a way to lessen the severity. Even if the company needs to do more investigating or put more thought into the situation, just stating an apology at first is crucial.

  2. Gabby Sully

    No matter when a crisis arises, it’s always important to assume responsibility immediately. In all of these situations, it took a while for a statement to be made. When companies or spokespeople choose to be silent, it can be the loudest form of disrespect and disregard to the situation.

  3. Jennifer Im

    These cases were fascinating for me to learn about, because truly, it emphasizes the value of Public Relations in the modern business world. When I heard about United Airline’s response, “what were they thinking” was the exact thought I had. What I found the most ironic was that Oscar Munoz was recently named “U.S. Communicator of the Year” by PR Week. We know for a fact that Munoz’s statements have affected public perception of United Airlines, but do you think this incident also affected the credibility of PR Week?

  4. Kristina Scotto

    The fact that all of these public relations blunders have occurred recently just shows how crucial it is that public relations specialists do their job quickly and efficiently. Crisis communication is extremely important within public relations, which is how United Airlines got themselves in an even deeper hole. This reminded me of the Dominos prank video a while back, where two employees created a video preforming unsanitary acts to the food being made and uploaded it to YouTube. Because the video went viral, the president of Dominos had posted a clearly scripted apology video within the next few days. Although it happened so long ago, many people were still disturbed by the video and the lack of a sincere response. If the president’s apology was more sincere, consumers would probably be more likely to eat there again in the future.

  5. anwarahmad

    In the world of PR, if you did something wrong, just say sorry – and mean it. If you have a big pride or a big ego, you should not be the face of a huge cooperation of business. That is simply asking for trouble. As dumb and uneducated Sean Spicer seems, saying sorry was probably the smartest thing that he could have done. What’s more, I have a lot of respect for Pepsi. As soon people the uproar began, they immediately released a statement and apologized. That shows how much they truly care about their loyal consumers. In order to be a good PR practitioner, you really need to care about the people that you are speaking to.

  6. gafinlayson

    It is crazy that there were three disastrous PR instances all in one week. The way that United dealt with their crisis will for sure be added to Public Relations text books in the future as one of the worst ways to deal with a crisis of that caliber. Sean Spicer is always making mistakes, but has not been seen as often after his comments about the Holocaust. Finally, Pepsi got off easy in comparison to United with the amount of attraction their crisis was received by the public. I enjoyed Heineken’s response to Pepsi’s add and just the climate that we are living in today. This was a great public relations move on Heineken’s part and shows that we are very different, but we need to come together and have an open conversation about our differences.
    Here is the Heineken’s video: https://www.fastcompany.com/40412848/heineken-just-put-out-the-antidote-to-that-pepsi-kendall-jenner-ad

  7. Lifestyle PRactice

    The week was very bad week for these companies. But, for a PR student, it is a great example to brainstorm on what we would do as a practitioner working for these companies. United Airlines and Pepsi both responded poorly to the public. Specifically, I believe United really messed up this week. In another class, I had to create a PR plan for United Airlines, which actually gave me a great idea on how to work quickly and effectively.

  8. Elana Delafraz

    Is Sean Spicer kidding me? Something I leaned in my public relations classes is to do your research and clearly, he missed the mark. As a jew and human rights activist, I am personally disgusted by his words.

  9. Dianne Fallucca

    Sean Spicer continues to amaze me with his lack of public relation etiquette, especially as the press secretary. Regardless of your political stance, it is clear that he is poor at his job. While he should be defusing the bad reputation of his client, the president, he only adds to the discomfort many of us have.
    As far as United and Pepsi, they could definitely use some help from Apologies & Regrets, Inc.

  10. Sara Fox

    First of all: I love that picture! Pepsi and Spicer did a good job of appropriately responding to their individual crises. I think Pepsi did an especially good job by stating that their intentions were pure. United however did a horrible job, and I believe they had the most at stake. If their response was sincere and apologetic, many flyers would forgive the airline. However, by placing blame with the customer, United has made a crucial mistake.

  11. Leana Gianan

    Last week seemed to be a disaster for everyone! All I kept thinking of was ‘How did their PR people let this happen?’ For Munez’s incident, it really shows how important the choice of words are. Picking the right words means conveying the right emotion. For the Pepsi situation, I just don’t understand how it could have been approved. It seems like no one was really thinking.

  12. Awilda

    I totally agree with the fact that you could’ve made a fortune last week if your clients were Pepsi, United Airlines and Sean Spicer.
    What a PR nightmare this was. In regards to the Spicer, I myself can’t believe that he thought that the comprising he made were even okay to begin with. In regards,
    to Pepsi and United Airlines which are big companies how is it possible to make such big mistakes. Don’t they have the resources? I can’t even imagine the amount
    of money that was put towards production, and on top of that what Kendall Jenner was getting paid. Maybe they should have invested some money on a focus group, which
    would have maybe had someone let them know that this idea was NOT ok. It is crucial that United Airlines changes their overbooking policies, so that something like this never
    happens again.

  13. Sydney Seligman

    Personally, I think that Sean Spicer handled his misspeak very poorly. It took him three statements to make sure his apology was clear and exuded regret. As a PR professional on the worlds largest stage, he should have known better and also known to be precise and prompt in his apology.

    As far as Pepsi goes, I think that they did a great job responding in a quick and effective manner. United airlines, however, did not. The slow response and half-apology-half-blaming was extremely inappropriate and fueled a fire in many people. On the heels of another crisis for the company, this event was extremely damaging to the company. I expect big changes to be made in policy and leadership very soon.

  14. Tyler Weatherly

    I, on the contrary, believe that Pepsi’s apology lacked sincerity and apologized without truly understanding what they were apologizing for. Their ad campaign with Kendall Jenner did more than ‘miss the mark,’ it trivialized the reasons that we protested and continue to protest. Their apology was not well received and really didn’t calm the situation if anything it made them look more ignorant. They took the time to apologize to Kendall Jenner for putting her in the situation – when she, an adult, signed a contract and agreed to be a part of their campaign but did not apologize to protesters. Odd PR tactic if you ask me.

  15. Jenna Morace

    I think he was very quick to get offensive. In a situation like that people want to back up their employees because they believe in them that they have the ability to handle issues like that correctly. Even if the man was out of control and belligerent there is no excuse for the airline employees to use force the way they did. The people viewing this situation in the media aren’t going to care weather or not the guy was out of line, they only see the videos of him being carried out, not acting out. Overall those are the things people remember about the airline as a whole and it is going to take a really long time for them to overcome this situation.

  16. liad zayit

    I defiantly agree that after a PR crisis it is always necessary to apologize, however United Airlines needed to do way more than that. It was crucial for them to change their overbooking polices to prevent something like that from happening again. Pepsi on the other hand will need to hire new people not only for their advertising teams for creative team as well because they need people to know when its “enough”. It will be interesting to see how both companies go on forward from both of these crisis especially United Airlines because of the lawsuit they will be having to deal with.

  17. Emily Levine

    I definitely agree that the best thing to do in any one of these situations is to apologize immediately. It is clear that by doing anything other than apologizing, United Airlines dragged their crisis even further into the mud and called even more attention to it. By apologizing and admitting that what you did was wrong, you can begin to take the necessary steps to repair your public image. As was mentioned before, United needs to rethink their overbooking policies or the way they transport their own employees, and Pepsi might need to hire new advertising and creative team members. As for Spicer, the only thing he can really do is think before he speaks from now on, but all of these actions definitely need to start with an apology.

  18. Julie Dietel

    In my personal opinion I believe that apologies are necessary and effective when the company/ person is actually apologetic. As humans we make mistakes and there are times when campaigns go awry and people say the wrong thing. However, I believe that when someone makes an apology that is insincere the public can see right through it and it does more damage than good. Overall, id say don’t make the mistake at all but when you do make sure you really mean what you’re saying in the end.

    1. Alexandra Halbert

      That new PR firm doesn’t sound like a bad idea! In fact, in today’s society, I’m surprised it doesn’t exist yet… In any PR crisis I feel an apology is necessary. Better yet, it’s expected! The quicker a company or individual is publicly apologetic, the quicker they are forgiven (in most cases). And hopefully, the quicker the story becomes “old news”. After reviewing these three PR tragedies, I feel that Spicer may have done the most damage. Though his reaction was swift and included a timely apology, his accusations are very well inexcusable and with a subject as serious as the Holocaust, I’m sure they will not be forgotten.

  19. Briana Cunningham

    First of all, if you’re opening a new PR firm that means you’re looking to hire, right? I’ll be sure to send my resume right away.
    All joking aside, these PR crises really make me realize just how important professional communication is. From the time we are small children we are taught to think before we speak. And in these situations I feel as though that somehow got lost. Another communication skill we learn as children is that we should apologize when we do something wrong. As you mentioned, Sean Spicer and Pepsi apologized almost immediately for their mistake and have since reigned in their crises. On the other hand, United Airlines has only allowed their story to continue, getting progressively worse and worse. And unlucky for them they have encounter two more major issues since then: a scorpion dropping from an overhead bin and stinging a passenger and a bride and groom being escorted off of a plane on the way to their Costa Rican wedding. In communication crises like the ones mentioned above I do find myself asking, “what were they thinking?” And I can only hope that I’ve learned enough in my time at Hofstra to not make mistakes like those in my communication career.

  20. Olivia H

    It says a lot that Spicer’s apology and how he handled his mistake to be the best example in this group. For Pepsi, I know many people were less than eager to forgive them with their statement of “We missed the mark.” I know I wasn’t the only one who found that really casual and blase. United definitely won worst PR for the week, which is ironic since PR week named the CEO “Communicator of the year.” A passenger was also stung by a scorpion on their flight and they just kicked a couple who were going to their wedding.

  21. Elizabeth Giangarra

    Through out Public relations there have been many public relations crisis.. These three organizations many careless, tasteless decisions that should never happen as they claim, but should never have happened in the first place. The next time someone asks why a PR department is necessary, I will cite these three examples. I think its important that these company learns from these mistakes for the future.

  22. Haley Moffatt

    It’s admirable, from a PR standpoint, the way Pepsi and Sean Spicer handled these issues. They realized what they did/said was wrong quite quickly after being released and did the right thing and apologized. It’s unfortunate to see United handle this crisis so poorly, excuses do not make people feel better about what happened- especially when it involves someone being physically dragged off a plane so violently that he was bleeding. The reprehensible reaction the CEO first gave makes you wonder who exactly was his counsel on this issue, and why they didn’t advise him to apologize almost immediately. It seems that things aren’t getting better for United and probably wont until a real, genuine apology is issued. This just goes to prove how far a real apology can go.

  23. Stephanie Rubbino

    All three companies made a mistake but I think that the Spicer situation was the worst one and maybe the hardest to bounce back from. With the Pepsi commercial you can tell that they had the right idea but did not represent it correctly at all. The United situation is also tough because there was a video and the visual of that man may be forever in some peoples minds when they think of the company. Its good that they all apologized but they will have to work on their reputation further than just apology.

  24. Emily Barnes

    The common denominator with all the three of these situations is that they all could’ve been easily avoided–that’s the sad part. I don’t believe issuing a public apology is a 100% guarantee for repairing a company or individual’s public image. Spicer, Pepsi, and United need to follow up their apologies with efficiency; this is what people will be really looking forward to.

  25. Bianca Kroening

    This is the perfect idea for a PR Agency. These three organizations made such careless, tasteless decisions that not only should “never happen again,” as they claim, but should never have happened in the first place. The next time someone asks why a PR department is necessary, I will cite these three examples.

  26. rHwang

    This is kind of horrible to say, but I find it funny how these PR disasters happened relatively close to each other; however, I find it amazing how each of the events that took place did not approach the problem “correctly”. Apologies and acknowledging that there is a problem should always be number one. Consumers are priority.

  27. Hannah Thueson

    It’s really important to own what you did and apologize before you do anything else. The American public is much more likely to forgive if you’ve already apologized publically.

  28. Max Newman

    This last week was proved to be extremely valuable in lessons to learn for future PR company employees. I believe that Sean Spicer’s statements were the most controversial and because of that dragged a lot of attention. The lesson to learn here is admit your mistakes and apologize at the first instant. Also it is not always appropriate to have your CEO speak for the company. They usually make mistakes.

  29. Erik Hansen

    Out of all of these PR disasters, I personally feel that the Pepsi ad is the worst out of all of them at face value. In the United and the Spicer examples, both of the offending parties were clearly in the wrong from the start and acknowledged afterwards that what they did was wrong, apologizing as much as they could as soon as they began. With Pepsi’s greatly belittling ad, however, the drink company actually took a look at such an ad and said “Yep, this is fine”. I find it to be the worse because the company was unable to immediately see how messed up the commercial was and somehow thought people would find it “inspiring”.

  30. Sam Bussell

    This past week was very interesting in the world of PR. 3 of some of the major companies in the world decide to make some bone-headed moves. First off Pepsi came out with that commercial and to be honest it wasn’t that big of a deal compared to what United and Spicer did, they went out on a limb and it didn’t work in their favor. But as for the cases for both Spicer and United they both made headlines that offended multiple communities, but what separates the two is that Spicer came out right away and apologized and that was the right move because he knew he was at fault. But as for United they decided to shoot themselves in the foot and come out and say that they weren’t at fault and that it was the passengers fault that all of the commotion occurred. Because of this they put themselves into a bigger hole than originally and it has blown up in their faces. If they came out an apologized in the beginning all of these events could be avoided and United could be dealing with just one situation and not multiple.

  31. Christina Shackett

    It continues to amaze me that some of these companies still do not recognize the first thing they should do in situations like this: apologize as quickly as they can. As a consumer, what we want to hear is that a company has recognized their fault and wants to fix it. Attempting to argue their point or defend themselves very rarely to never changes our mindset in such situations. After this week of PR crises, it becomes more apparent that the quicker you apologize, the easier the situation becomes to handle moving forward.

  32. Brandi Hutchinson

    In regards to the Sean Spicer problem, I think Spicer should step down because this is not the first time that he has messed up speaking as the Press Secretary. I don’t think that someone in that position can mess up and apologize over and over again and continue to have his job. He represents this country and even though he apologized, he could have seriously offended multiple powerful people and put in country in bad terms. He shouldn’t be able to mess up and then apologize and get away like it’s nothing. I personally don’t think the Pepsi commercial was all that bad. It was never meant to harm or offend anyone. I think people overreact to small things. The biggest problem that arose with United is the fact that there was videos and taping of the innocent so people force opinions before anything seriously happens.

  33. wendy timana

    If you start that company, count me in! This past week was such a PR mess. It seemed like everyone was trying to outdo each other on who could create a bigger mess for themselves. It was scandal after scandal followed by terrible crisis management. The United situation is a prime example of why the CEO should not be the person to speak first or at all. I am just truly confused on why this man was allowed to put out this statement and if he went through a team to approve this statement. If his team really approved this then he needs to hire new PR people. The first Pepsi apology was so insufficient since they took the time to publically apologize to Kendall as if she did not read the script and as if she was not paid millions for this! She’s still getting her money! As for Sean Spicer…. I don’t know at this point. He has proved time and time again that he’s just someone that isn’t equipped for a high stress job like being press secretary. This wasn’t a mild slip up. This was offensive to millions of people and downplayed the Holocaust!

  34. Gabriella Johns

    It was a rough week for PR Professionals. I will admit that people such as Sean Spicer are human and people make mistakes. I don think that he should get fired for mentioning Hitler . He simply misspoke and any public relations professional knows not to EVER mention Hitler. The mistakes that United Airlines and Pepsi made this week were major hiccups. When a PR crisis such as dragging a passenger off the plane happens the correct response from the company is the most important thing that needs to happen. People want to see that the company is apologetic.

  35. Emily Bravo

    Oscar Munoz took too long to appropriately apologize for United’s mishap. Similar to previous cases in PR class, the CEO is not always the best person to respond after a PR incident. Pepsi was probably glad United Airlines took the heat off of them this past week. Sean Spicer should not have mistaken such an important event in history. He is supposed to be the best of the best. He definitely lost some of the little credibility he had as Press Secretary.

  36. Alyssa Scott

    It amazes me that all three of these crises even happened. To top it off they were not handled properly. I am sure Apologies & Regrets, Inc. would have made their lives much easier last week.

  37. Sarah Hanlon

    The mistakes these companies made last week are so bad, they’re almost laughable. As a student in PR 100 for only a few months, I feel like even I could have handled these situations better than they did. As far as Pepsi, I believe they did the best thing possible: they apologized and moved on. But for the United CEO and Sean Spicer, they need to learn how to control the damage they’ve done. Instead of continuing to talk and make the situation worse, they might benefit from apologizing, accepting their mistake, and speaking out about how they’re going to fix the problem they created.

  38. Neil A. Carousso

    Sean Spicer should not have made any historical comparison or reference to Nazi Germany, especially when many in the opposition party have abhorrently compared Adolf Hitler to Donald Trump. This opened himself and the White House to much criticism. Spicer’s intentions were not to disparage Jewish families during Passover and his apologies came rather immediate. Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, that kind of gaffe will leave the door open to a wave of political criticism.

    As far as Pepsi is concerned, I, personally, would not apologize. I don’t thing they did anything wrong by placing this advertisement that showed tremendous unity and respect for law enforcement which should be apolitical. I believe people are too sensitive and if anyone is to get upset over an advertisement that shows people in unison, they should re-evaluate their own personal values.

    United botched the handling of this case from the start and they will need to revamp their public relations image as well as the procedure for handling cases like this in the future.

  39. Ben M

    Honestly, this week has been terrible for PR people. United handle things abhorrently and their stock is showing the aftermath of that. Pepsi also messed up, but I think they’ll breeze it over. I don’t understand how they thought that message was a good idea, but maybe not everyone is as understanding of diverse view points as they appear. Sean Spicer’s comments however, I can’t get over. The utter lack of basic understanding of history in a political setting it inexcusable, especially when talking about the Holocaust. This administration is constantly spewing informariom that is inaccurate to make their point, which really undermines their credibility every time they apologize, which is too often. That blatant disregard for truth and accuracy is disrespectful to the public and I cannot trust a word out of their mouths.

  40. Kassara McElroy

    Clever meme. Poor use of or no PR can cause an entity to become a joke. A joke that has the capability to go viral and expand the reach of a damaged public image by the millisecond. I believe it will take United Airlines years and years to recover its reputation. Employees should not become forceful unless the passenger was threatening the peace on the plane. Since this was not the case (as far as we know), United faced a crisis. There was no clear crisis PR plan, since the CEO’s initial responses came off as severely degrading and insensitive.

  41. Brittany Liscoe

    I don’t understand how corporations such as Pepsi and United Airlines as well as PR professionals such as Sean Spicer make such obvious PR mistakes. Considering I’ve only taken one PR class I’m obviously not in any position to tell professionals how to do their job better but I just don’t get how they seem to not be aware of the basic guidelines of PR that I’ve learned in a single semester. What is so hard about simply apologizing rather than defending? Furthermore why do CEOs keep doing the jobs of PR representatives?

  42. Emily Walsh

    Last week was definitely an interesting week to be a PR person. Three huge names / companies desperately needed the aid of PR people when they found themselves in unfortunate situations. I completely agree with your sentiments. I feel that even though the mistakes made by Spicer and Pepsi were unforgettable and extremely inappropriate, they made almost immediate apologies. Owning up, taking responsibility and apologizing are the first steps we learn in crisis management. However, United took days to ultimately come out with an apology. This is unacceptable. No matter the situation, one must apologize and work to repair the wrongdoings. Needless to say, this was an interesting week to be a PR student so we can analyze and learn what to do and what not to do in a crisis situation.

  43. Daniela Gagliano

    People don’t seem to understand that an apology goes a long way. Instead of justifying actions or making up excuses, companies need to understand that a sincere, public apology can mean more than anything else they could think to put out. When the general public is angry, responding with excuses and justifications will only cause more backlash and distrust. The point of responding to a situation should be to mend their public image and with responses like these mentioned, the organizations seemed to dig themselves into a deeper hole.

  44. Elliot Rubin

    While Pepsi and Spicer may have issued prompt apologizes in response to their respective crises, this in no way mitigates the scope of these scandals. I don’t believe that the Pepsi ad, while tone-deaf, will have any lasting effect on the company or the efficacy of protests. Sooner or later, people will forget about the scandal and continue drinking or not drinking Pepsi, and protesting or not. I have a much bigger issue with Sean Spicer’s scandal. By saying that Hitler “didn’t gas his own people,” Spicer is causing a lot of harm to the Jewish community. First of all, regardless the point of view where which Spicer was making the statement, either one of ignorance or anti-Semitic (I believe it was an ignorant claim, not that Spicer is anti-Semitic), by saying this statement, Spicer effectively did what Hitler wanted to do: treat the Jews as an “other.” This statement could lead to people either not fully respecting Jews, or to deny that the Holocaust happened. I do not believe that Spicer purposely misstated the statements as he had, however, that being said, there is no excuse for what he said. When a non-government entity, the Anne Frank Center, says that a politician should resign, that is not something that should be taken lightly.
    Spicer may have issued a public apology and one towards wealthy, Jewish, Conservative donor, Sheldon Adelson (to me, it just seemed like he apologized to Adelson because he is an influential voice in the Jewish community, and because he has donated to the Holocaust museum – I don’t know what other reason there is), Spicer said in his apology to Adelson that he is sorry “if he was offensive.” It is very telling that Spicer, even after his egregious misstatement, he was not entirely sure what he said what was so bad that he said, just that he needed to apologize for it.
    As for the United scandal, that was handled terribly. If Munoz got in front of the story and issued a statement and sincere apology just as, or shortly after, it happened, it is unlikely that the event would have escalated to the heights it has.

  45. Nicole Lamanna

    It’s amazing how redundant PR mistakes are in the professional world. What I mean by this is that companies tend to repeat mistakes made by other companies. For example, the United CEO made the mistake of blaming the victim which has rarely worked as a good response to a crisis. If United had learned from others’ mistakes, it would’ve have a good PR team that inhibited the CEO from making such stupid remarks.

  46. Samantha Storms

    For not being a PR major, I feel that witnessing these public relations crises unfold before me firsthand really opened my eyes to the many aspects of our professional world that we don’t realize is affected by the need for good, effective communication skills. Political leanings aside, I think Sean Spicer handled his situation the best he possibly could, and he will no doubt bounce back from his situation. Pepsi and United, however, may have more to deal with in the coming months as the nation’s political and social climates continue to heat up.

  47. Whitney Shepherd

    I think for me when I look at these multiple scenarios, my first question for all three have been what is the crisis communications strategy behind the scenes? For Spicer and Pepsi, their apologizes were timely and sincere, but for United, they somehow cannot seem to get it right. What is more interesting to me is that considering United is an airline they should be the first company to have a top notch crisis plan incase situations like this occur. I guess for now I am kinda just waiting to see what happens next.

  48. Marli Delaney

    I agree that apologies are one of the only ways to repair PR damage. Pepsi and Sean Spicer might have finished cleaning up their messes of the week, but I’m interested in finding out what ends up happening with United Airlines (I’m expecting some more scandal).

  49. Madison Wright

    I think Pepsi handled their crisis the best and obviously United treated the whole situation very poorly. As for Spicer, he dug himself into a deep hole this time and the “I’m sorry’s” may not cut it. Although he did his in a timely fashion, the reason I believe Pepsi reacted better is because they apologized immediately after the video was released. United just proved once again that maybe the CEO shouldn’t be the go-to for an apology statement

  50. Courtney Grieco

    A firm named Apologies & Regrets is much needed right now. With three public relations crises in one week it has become clear that everyone could use a little knowledge on how to deal with such crises. Apologizing and owning your mistakes is extremely important. As we saw this week, if you fail to do so, the uproar of the people will rise up and up.

  51. Ashley Zachariah

    Thank you for writing about all of these PR disasters! I was really disgusted by Spicer’s inability to use correct Holocaust terminology. How can someone be so ignorant?!

  52. Haylee Pollack

    I agree that saying sorry after a PR crisis is almost always necessary, but it is what follows that differs. For the United Airlines example, it is crucial that they change their overbooking policies in order to prevent a crisis like this from happening again. However when you compare it to the Pepsi example, they will need to get new people on their creative or advertising teams that will realize when a commercial or advertisement is going too far or is hurtful. It will be interesting to see how the next steps for both of these companies and their PR teams differ.

  53. Michael Mastropierro

    The United CEO really made a big mistake. Pepsi apologized and I think that’s all but forgotten about now. The Spicer situation was bad but I think after a so many claims like this one we’ve just become immune to it and we expect it out of him at this point. He’s going to have a negative image throughout this whole administration and I don’t think there’s anything he can do about it. But United really messed up. People are going to remember this for a long time and their reputation will be tarnished.


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