Biggest PR blunders of 2012

Biggest PR blunders of 2012

The Australian Labor Party’s introduction of the Carbon Tax was the biggest public relations disaster of 2012, trumping controversial comments made by 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones, a new online study has revealed.

The Labor Party secured three of the top five positions on the annual list of PR disasters awarded by PR watchdog and blogsite which measures the most-talked about PR nightmares via data-crunching by

The Carbon Tax sealed the top position for the ALP, which was slightly more talked-about than comments made by Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones about the Prime Minister’s late father.

The Australian Workers Union slush fund saga, which saw Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s credibility affected by claims she assisted a former boyfriend and union colleague misuse funds, took fourth place,  while the January Tent Embassy riots, in which a member of the Labor government informed protesters of Tony Abbott’s whereabouts, took fifth.

Alan Jones’ speech at the 2012 Liberal Club President’s Dinner, in which he asserted that Julia Gillard's father ''died of shame'' because of the ''lies'' she told, earned 2GB second place. The story generated a significant social media campaign calling for the station’s breakfast radio program sponsors to boycott 2GB.

Commercial radio station 2Day FM took third position on the list for last month’s Royal prank call tragedy.

Comments made by The Circle presenter Yumi Stynes and journalist George Negus about Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Roberts-Smith earned Network Ten seventh place on the list.

The PR Disaster Awards are calculated using Alterian SM2 digital content monitoring technology and analysed by

The results assess the most talked about PR disasters in both traditional and online media, including social media spaces.

To qualify as a PR disaster, the incident must result in sustained, negative media coverage for the brand, business or person at the centre of the story.

Gerry McCusker, author of the ‘PR Disasters’ blog said: “The data again suggests that microblog tool Twitter is most often used to attack and lambast those who get their PR wrong.

“For the second year running, the biggest critics of PR and reputation appear to be those in the 25-34 age bracket, although the 35-49 age bracket was out in force against the Carbon Tax.”

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