Tag Archives: Tennyson Center for Children

PR Snafus from the Week that Was — and Social Media’s Response to Them


There’s a social media axiom heavily utilized – some would say over utilized – by those seeking to juxtapose gaffes alongside even bigger gaffes. That term? “Hold my beer.” To say it was used a lot this week might be an understatement. In this week’s editions of Weekly Reads, we take a look at how social media responded to some of the biggest PR snafus from the week that was. 

USA Today: Airlines take to Twitter to exploit United’s misfortune

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has put his foot in his mouth several times in the wake of a video-taped incident that saw a United passenger dragged off a flight. Munoz may also now regret the time he described his competitors in the Persian Gulf as “not real airlines.” At the very least, it seems Emirates and Royal Jordanian airlines haven’t forgotten about that old comment, as both took to Twitter this week to reexamine it alongside some of United’s recent blunders.

NPR: Unforeseen Achilles heel of clever Burger King marketing ploy

Burger King produced an ad in which its spokesperson tells the camera, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” The ad was meant to activate Google Home devices, which would then in turn read off a description of the Whopper burger from Wikipedia. It proved to be a very clever and effective ploy — until someone changed the ingredients in the Whopper on Wikipedia to “chocolate candy, toenail clippings, cyanide, rat and a medium-sized child.”

Huffington Post: Public perception of Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner surprisingly mixed

Pepsi quickly pulled and apologized for an ad featuring Kendall Jenner after critics widely scorned the company for seeming to purport that the offering of a soft drink might quell tensions between police officers and Black Lives Matter protesters. But interestingly enough, an online poll found that 44 percent of those surveyed had a more favorable view of Pepsi after viewing the ad.

Washington Post: News about ‘white is purity’ campaign from Nivea gets buried

In the ad campaign you may have missed amidst the backlash about the three larger companies just mentioned, Nivea tossed up a post on its Middle Eastern Facebook page as part of a deodorant campaign that suggested “White is Purity.” Perhaps as ill-fated as the campaign itself, the company took to social media with the quasi-justification that the Facebook post was somehow less offensive because it was intended for a Middle Eastern audience.

CBS News: Anti-Defamation League seizes opportunity presented by Sean Spicer

Perhaps the most widely publicized gaffe of the week came from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. In an attempt to criticize Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, Spicer claimed “not even Hitler used chemical weapons” — a claim that flew in the face of the fact that Hitler used gas chambers during the Holocaust. The Anti-Defamation League used the misstep as an avenue to promote its Holocaust education classes, making a public offer to discount its classes if Spicer should want to enroll.

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Tennyson Center for Children | Gratitude Annual Report Design

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, making it a great time to highlight the design work we’ve done on the annual reports for Tennyson Center for Children, a nonprofit that works wonders with victims of child abuse.

Corporate Giving – Are You Committed?

Corporate giving, corporate social responsibility, community relations – we hear about these important issues all the time. It’s supposedly essential for companies to give back to their communities – to help solve the ills that plague society. But is it really the role of business to address issues like hunger, natural disasters and poverty – or to support causes such as higher education or the arts? Shouldn’t business just be about customers, revenues and the bottom line? Considering that I personally spent six years in an organization dedicated largely to encouraging corporate philanthropy, I have to say that forward-thinking businesses should do more than care about their bottom line. And I’m happy to report that Denver – and our nation – is chock full of business leaders and employees who truly care about their community.

According to the 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship in the United States survey from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and The Hitachi Foundation, “In a strong signal that corporate social responsibility has earned a place alongside the bottom line, a survey of nearly 800 companies found most senior executives believe business should take a greater role solving problems in health care, product safety, education and climate change.” The survey results go on to show that “corporate citizenship is weathering the recession and is increasingly being integrated into business strategy and operations.”

I am proud to report that even though we are a small business, we believe in walking the proverbial walk. In addition to helping clients identify nonprofit partners and develop strategic corporate giving plans, GroundFloor Media donates up to 15% each year to nonprofits. Several years ago, GroundFloor Media chose Tennyson Center for Children, one of the Rocky Mountain region’s leading treatment and education centers for abused, neglected and at-risk youth, as its nonprofit partner and began providing pro bono PR services to the organization. Through its Get Grounded program, GroundFloor Media also allows its employees to get paid time off for volunteering and provides matching grants to organizations about which employees feel passionate.

And, GroundFloor Media is not alone. For instance, in 2008 Qdoba Mexican Grill adopted Starlight Children’s Foundation as its national charity partner, to which it donates funds, employee volunteer hours and food. Denver-based St. Mary Land & Exploration Company has sponsored the building of a Habitat for Humanity house each year for the past several years, sending employee volunteers to help with the construction, and in 2009, Pinnacol Assurance awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships to students through its foundation. And this is just a small sample of the many businesses doing great things in their communities and around the world.

But with all of the potential causes and issues out there, how does a company know which one (or ones) to support? A couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • In order to ensure buy-in – and even enthusiasm – for the program among employees, it’s a good idea to survey them to identify causes that matter them. If a majority of your employees believe strongly in the need to help bolster public education, then that might be the way to go.
  • It can also help give a company direction to consider what causes are most closely related to their product or mission. What can your company offer that others can’t? Take Tide’s Loads of Hope campaign for instance – by providing mobile laundry services to victims of natural disasters, they are building incredible good will through a very unique offering.
  • And don’t forget to give employees ways to support their own personal causes, in addition to an overall cause for the corporation. This is a wonderful way to build employee morale and help ensure employee retention.

And, finally – because we would be remiss as a corporate citizen if we didn’t include a plug for our nonprofit partner in a blog post about corporate giving… For more information on how you can help Tennyson Center, be sure to tune in to 9NEWS in Denver on Thursday morning, March 4. Tennyson Center’s president and CEO will be on the 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. newscasts, and members of the Tennyson Center team will be taking calls about how individuals and groups can get involved.