Home PR The top 5 public relations news events that rocked 2017

The top 5 public relations news events that rocked 2017

As the year draws to a close, plenty of big corporations around the world will be breathing a sigh of relief. 2017 was an eventful year with some excellent opportunities for companies to strengthen their brand value. It was also a year that landed several company executives in something of a soup.

But as the saying goes, no PR is bad PR! Here, we take a look at some of the highlights of the year that impacted public relations of businesses in a big way.

First, #MeToo.  

In this era of paid trends, the spontaneous success of the #MeToo movement was a breath of fresh air! It started with some women naming and shaming or in some cases just acknowledging the fact that they faced sexual harassment at some stage(s) of their life.

The movement snowballed into millions of women around the world joining in to voice their resentment. It culminated in the expose of several Hollywood big shots like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others.

A movement like this truly showcased the power of social media in bringing about tangible change.

Second, The United Airlines dragging incident.

In an incident that shocked people across the world, a Kentucky doctor of Asian ethnicity was dragged off a United Airlines flight for refusing to give up his seat for an employee of the airlines.

The CEO publicly apologised to the passenger next day but things took a murky turn when an internal letter surfaced that had him blaming the victim. Safe to say, this was something akin of a public relations disaster and something of a lesson to learn from for other airlines.

Third, Twitter goes from 140 to 280.

While many analysts were shouting slogans of demise for Twitter, the company made a brave move to shift from 140 characters.

It doubled its character count to 280 and was in the news for several weeks with users reacting to this change. Sure enough, the company’s stocks raised – a good sign of positive PR.

Fourth, Beyoncé’s Instagram post that broke the internet.

A big part of public relations is one to one engagement of celebrities with their followers on social media handles.

Beyoncé’s IG post went on to break all records, becoming the most-liked post on the site ever. At this time, it has over 11 million likes.

Fifth, Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad.

Pepsi put out an ad this year that will be part of marketing courses in the years to come as a case study for what not to do. The video tried (and failed miserably) to capture the essence of social and political protests around the world. But it did so without actually bothering to dig deep into the issue.

Every exercise in PR is like a hit or miss situation. There are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow from the experiences of others. Similarly, the events of 2017 will sure enough have significant impact on media for a long time.


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