Photograph by George Widman/AP

The Corporate Apology Tour, via Instagram

  1. Kevin Systrom, Instagram

    Kevin Systrom, Instagram

    It’s a time-honored tradition: Companies roll out a new policy, product, or promotion that customers hate, forcing a sheepish about-face. Instagram chief Kevin Systrom got a full dose of wrath on Dec. 17 when the photo-sharing site told users it had the right to sell their content to marketers. (Even the Kardashians felt violated by the new terms.) A day later, Systrom vowed to change the “confusing” language to clarify that it won’t sell photos. Embarrassing? Yes. But he’s hardly the first leader to reverse course.

    Photograph by Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images
  2. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

    Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

    Facebook’s (FB) founder (and Instagram owner) is no stranger to shifting gears in response to user protests. Most notably, he changed the site’s privacy settings to let users opt out of an ad program that notified “friends” of purchases.

    Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
  3. Reed Hastings, Netflix

    Reed Hastings, Netflix

    In 2011, the Netflix (NFLX) chief angered customers by doubling the price to rent a DVD by mail. He then fueled the revolt with an apology that said the company's mail-in users would be sent to a new site called Qwickster. Three weeks later, that idea was killed.

  4. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo

    Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo

    The PepsiCo (PEP) chief’s bid to modernize Tropicana was ditched less than two months after the revamped product hit shelves. Without its logo and that straw stuck in an orange, it looked like another generic juice brand.

    Photograph by Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
  5. Roberto Goizueta, Coca Cola

    Roberto Goizueta, Coca Cola

    You may not remember the former Coca-Cola (KO) chief executive, but who can forget New Coke? In 1985, the soft drink changed its formula for the first time in 99 years. The old stuff was brought back 79 days later, leaving Coke with what’s arguably the most famous brand debacle in history.

    Photograph by Jean Meunier/AFP via Getty Images
  6. Brian Moynihan, Bank of America

    Brian Moynihan, Bank of America

    The Bank of America (BAC) chief dropped a plan to charge $5 monthly debit-card fees last year just weeks after it was announced. Financial crisis or not, customers were outraged at being charged to access their own money.

    Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
  7. David Novak, Yum Brands

    David Novak, Yum Brands

    YUM Brands' (YUM) KFC chain discovered the downside of popularity when Oprah Winfrey told viewers to download a coupon for its new grilled chicken. The result: 10.5 million downloads, numerous photocopied coupons, and franchisees angered at having to cover the cost of free food. So Yum revoked the coupon, making customers go to KFC to fill out forms to get a raincheck.

    Photograph by Larry French/Getty Images
  8. Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters

    Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters

    A co-founder and the current CEO of clothing chain Urban Outfitters (URBN) has become a master at pulling tasteless products. He has overseen a rich array of gaffes—from Ghettopoly, a Monopoly-inspired game in which "playas" collect liquor stores and crack houses while robbing banks to boost cash, to T-shirts that evoke the Holocaust, ethnic stereotypes, and binge-drinking.

    Photograph by George Widman/AP
  9. Mike Lazaridis, RIM

    Mike Lazaridis, RIM

    Millions of BlackBerry users around the world lost service for several days in early October, 2011, an outage the company blamed on a hardware error. As service was being restored, Lazaridis issued an unusually sincere apology. “I apologize for the service outages this week. We’ve let many of you down. … You expect better from us, and I expect better from us.” See the video here. (suggested by Isabel Frihetsdottir, via Facebook)

    Photograph by Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg
  10. Tony Hayward, BP

    Tony Hayward, BP

    Taking responsibility for the biggest oil spill in history can be really exhausting. Or so BP’s CEO implied, six weeks after the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, when he told television reporters, “There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back.” Three days later, Hayward apologized, saying, “My first priority is doing all we can to restore the lives of the people of the Gulf region and their families - to restore their lives, not mine.” (suggested by @AndrewSweet via Twitter)

    Photograph by Rod Lamkey Jr/AFP via Getty Images