A Last Request

By: Sebastian Faura

Sometimes, there are cases in life that are, unfortunately, an inevitable result. Some of these cases are those that have their lives cut too short for one reason or another, whether it’s a tragic accident, or a terminal condition. However, there are those who go the extra mile for these individuals, and they truly are the exemplar of human empathy. Today, we’re going to recognize a couple of these individuals and groups.

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The Pixar movie “Up”.

Back in 2009, Pixar had just finished the development of their latest movie, “Up”. However, there was one fan who desperately wanted to see it, and didn’t have a lot of time to. Her name was Colby Curtin, and she was sick with Vascular Cancer, rendering her unable to go to a theater and see it. In response, Pixar sent out an employee directly to her hospital with a copy of the movie, giving Colby the opportunity to see it. Colby passed away later that very night, but her last wish had been fulfilled.

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John Cena, after granting his 500th wish.

This next person isn’t so much recognized for one thing as much as he’s being recognized for the massive list of accomplishments that arise from him. John Cena, while being best known for his association with WWE (and also being made into an infamous meme), is also a philanthropist, and is the highest Make A Wish granting celebrity to date, with over 500 wishes granted. His commitment and goodwill towards others is a standard not many can match.

 

Where’s the Follow Through?

By: Sebastian Faura

If there is one thing that is important as a public relations professional, it’s┬ákeeping true to the alleged promises your company makes in terms of incentives, announced commitments or otherwise binding elements that mean the company has some sort of obligation. Sometimes, though, that’s not followed as closely as it should be.

The first one that comes to mind is honestly a silly case, but nonetheless proof of the idea “Don’t say what you don’t mean”. Pepsi was trying to gain traction for its points program, where any Pepsi product you buy you could register online and gain points for it. So to add a little bit of hyperbole into the mix, they put a CGI harrier jet on the TV ad for it, listed at 7 million points. John Leonard took this claim seriously, and ended up actually gathering 7 million points. Despite this, however, Pepsi did not, in fact, dole out a military aircraft, much to the chagrin of Leonard, who attempted to sue.

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Didn’t think someone’d go for it, did you, Pepsi?

The second case, while incredulously elaborate, is nonetheless a true instance. Back in 2002, a waitress at a Hooters in Panama City, FL beat out all the other servers to sell the most beer in a month, under the impression that the restaurant will award the winner with a Toyota. Unfortunately, the miscommunication (intentionally so, for the sake of April Fool’s) merely awarded the woman with a “toy Yoda”, as in the Star Wars character. The woman, not amused, sued the restaurant and the company, quitting the job, and settling the suit in favor of her.

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Jodee Berry, former Hooters waitress and roundabout winner

So, what’s the lesson to learn here? Simple: People will take anything a company says seriously, unless otherwise indicated differently, or given the context of a joke or otherwise facetious remark. Tone is key in communication, and when that’s lost, you lose face.

Is Backpedaling A New Dance?

By: Sebastian Faura

So recent events can easily be summarized as PR disasters, best used as case studies on how to react in the proper way, how to NOT react in the proper way, and the ramifications of each. In this case, we’ll use the most prominent examples available to us: Pepsi’s insensitive ad, and United’s extremely poor treatment of overbooked passengers that devolved into actual physical confrontation.

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Kendall Jenner in the ad. Source: Vox.com

First example: Pepsi’s ad. Developed by the in-house ad team at Pepsi itself, it could be said that the idea of group think and a failure to outsource its focus groups led to the airing of an ad many have called tasteless, and implied that you could solve serious issues like police brutality, racial bias and social issues by giving your opponents a refreshing can of Pepsi.┬áThis is exacerbated by the fact that the key star in this commercial is Kendall Jenner, a celebrity part of a family that many people consider out-of-touch with reality in terms of common concerns that most of the country faces. Pepsi in this case did the right thing in its backpedal, pulling the commercial and stating that its intention was not to trivialize serious efforts for social reform. Damage done, written off. The next case, however, is a bit of a doozy.

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A United Airlines plane. Source: Google

United Airlines, like many other airlines, takes part in the practice of overbooking its flights to ensure that no seat on the flight goes unsold. This has some consequences however, and if all people show up to the flight, they will attempt to compensate passengers for being bumped off the flight. In this case, though, they selected a passenger to be removed from the plane (despite asking for volunteers), and airport security ended up assaulting the man, dragging him off the plane. Instead of distancing themselves from that behavior, United’s CEO BACKED the actions of the airline, saying the passenger was belligerent, and gaining even more negative press for the airline.

There’s a certain way to handle things when mistakes are made, especially when the actions taken are out of control of the companies in reference. But sometimes, you have to learn how to posture yourself better, and realize when you’re in the wrong.