Business PR Crises of 2012

  1. A Year’s Worth of Blunders

    A Year’s Worth of Blunders

    From Greg Smith’s kiss-off letter to Wall Street to a surprising sex scandal on Sesame Street, 2012 has been a long year for companies engaged in damage control. Here’s a look back.

    Jay-Z and Beyoncé birth baby Blue Ivy! And immediately begin a trademark battle with a Boston wedding-planning company of the same name. They eventually lose, upping Hova’s problems to 100.

  2. February


    The Susan G. Komen foundation decides to cease funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings, then quickly backs down after public outcry. Nevermind, nevermind, it says, way too late.

  3. March


    A JetBlue Airways pilot has a midair breakdown during which he screams about terrorists and religion, while American Airlines slowly falls apart, one loose seat at a time.

    The New York-based advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty attempts to turn homeless people into Wi-Fi hotspots at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex. They soon realize that this is literally the worst idea in the world.

    Greg Smith writes a kiss-off letter to Goldman Sachs in the New York Times. “Muppets” enters the business lexicon.

  4. April


    Massively bad bets by a JPMorgan Chase trader named Bruno (the “London Whale”) Iksil cost the bank $6.2 billion and leave the public puzzling over ­synthetic credit securities.

  5. May


    Facebook’s long-awaited IPO is a flop. Schadenfreude abounds. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg quietly gets married and posts his wedding pics on Facebook like the rest of the world.

  6. June


    “Libor” briefly becomes a household word after bankers at Barclays in London are caught fixing the influential interest rate and fined $451 million. “Dude. I owe you big time!” one conspirator e-mails.

  7. July


    Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy makes anti-gay marriage statements and contributes to organizations that oppose gay rights. People say they’re going to boycott the restaurant chain, then more people say they’re going to support it. Everybody loses, except Chick-fil-A.

  8. August


    Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter comes out against Obamacare and claims he has to raise pizza prices to pay for his employees’ health care.

  9. September


    A comically bad call by replacement referees costs the Green Bay Packers a game against the Seattle Seahawks. “Terrible,” says President Obama. Three days later, the NFL reaches a deal with the union refs.

    Patrick Stewart takes on Time Warner Cable. “All I wanted to do was set up a new account with @TWCable_NYC but 36hrs later I’ve lost the will to live,” he tweets.

    Apple releases the iPhone 5. It’s bigger, lighter, and faster than the last one. Just don’t try to use the maps function, because you might end up driving onto the runway at Dulles.

  10. October


    KitchenAid tweets during the presidential debate: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president.” The staffer who posted it thought it was her own account and “needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore,” confirmed the company’s brand chief.

    British police say deceased BBC TV host Sir Jimmy Savile was one of the most prolific sex offenders in the nation’s history. The BBC admits to dropping a news investigation into Savile’s crimes.

    VP candidate Paul Ryan is a P90X fanatic and poses in workout gear for Time. Tony Horton, who created the program, is thrilled. “All this attention, it’s going to help us a lot,” he says.

  11. November


    The snack food that could survive the apocalypse could not survive mismanagement. Hostess Brands shuts its delicious doors, for now.

    Elmo falls from grace after his creator, Kevin Clash, is accused of having sex with minors and forced to resign. Elmo says BOO!

    Model Karlie Kloss dons an American Indian costume (including tassled undies and a war headdress decked out in feathers) at the Victoria’s Secret show. VS “sincerely apologizes.” Unfortunately, birds don’t speak English.

    The CIA turns into Days of Our Lives as Director David Petraeus resigns in the wake of a scandalous affair with his biographer. America says sorry to Homeland for ever calling it unrealistic.

  12. December


    In other lockout news, there’s a rumor that the NHL is still in one.