I have to admit that I am not a sports fan. I typically watch games on TV to keep my husband company or attend games to enjoy the company of friends. In fact, when my husband and I made plans to attend a professional football game in November 2010, I considered taking my Kindle.
When the “granddaddy” of all sports games – the Super Bowl – came on last week, I took off my “pseudo” sports fan hat and put on my PR diva / PR college professor hat. And I was not disappointed. Some of the TV ads were interesting, but they were not what caught my eye. What captured my attention were the public relations-related faux pas committed.
- First, Christina Aguilera botched the national anthem. To her credit, she issued an apology afterward. However, can you imagine her poor publicist when he or she heard the client flub the lines? My advice – which I will offer for free – is for future singers to use a “cheat sheet” or teleprompter. Let’s be honest. Most of us do not know the words to the national anthem (unless you are my 4-year-old niece). However, we do not make millions of dollars as an entertainer. While the bar is high for celebrities like Christina, I think we should cut her some slack – this time.
- Next, Papa John’s Pizza had some kind of promotion that generated a lot of attention and resulted in quite a few pizza orders. I discovered this after having an experience-from-hell with a local Papa John’s Pizza shop and going to Facebook and Twitter to complain about it. Wow! I was not prepared for the negative comments plastering the Papa John’s Pizza Facebook wall or the negative tweets. It seems customers responded to the promotion, but some of the franchisees could not keep up with the demand. Dear Papa, the next time you offer a promotion connected to the largest sporting event in the world, you’d better be sure you can deliver – literally and figuratively.
- Finally, fans are brimming with anger over the fiasco that occurred at Cowboys Stadium, where the game was held. More tickets were sold than seats were available, leaving some fans who paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to attend the game with less-than-desirable seats. Lawsuits have been filed, and tickets to future Super Bowl games and triple refunds are being offered. In this instance, size does NOT matter. While Cowboys Stadium is big and impressive, it could not accommodate all of the Super Bowl ticket holders and will be remembered not for a positive experience but for an epic fail.
Have you heard of other Super Bowl PR faux pas? If so, do tell!