Published: Dec 14, 2005
Last Updated: Dec 2, 2017


Here's the venerable annual list of San Francisco-based Fineman PR, "Top 10 PR Blunders of 2005" --

1. Cruise, Out-of-Control. Tom Cruise's War of the Worlds press tour blew up on the "Today" show after he got on his Scientology soap box and lit into host Matt Lauer.

2. Pat Robertson's Diplomacy. Uncle Sam's relations with oil rich Venezuela worsened after televangelist Pat Robertson suggested the U.S. 'take out' its president Hugo Chavez.

3. UAW Unwelcomes Marines. Organized labor is having enough trouble without alienating the U.S. Marines. United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger barred Marine reservists from its parking lot if they drove foreign-made cars or sport pro-Bush bumper stickers.

4. No Benefit of the Doubt from Benefit Management Company. It appears that Michigan employee-benefits firm Benefit Management Administrators Inc. needs help managing its own employees. The company fired Suzette Boler for, among other things, taking too much time to say good-bye to her husband who left to fight in Iraq.

5. Harvard's Summers Storm. Publicly expressing sentiments that women are not good at math and science is not the kind of stereotyping you might expect from Harvard. So when Harvard's president, Larry Summers, said gender differences are why fewer women than men excel in those areas, the school's outraged faculty and alumni called for his ouster.

6. All the News Money Can Buy. The U.S. military's Washington, D.C.-based communications subcontractor in Iraq has been secretly paying newspapers to run positive "news" articles in an attempt to polish the coalition's image, denounce insurgents and praise U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

7. Grand Theft Auto's Undercover Addition. As if best selling video game "Grand Theft Auto, San Andreas" didn't have enough violence and debauchery already, its maker Rockstar Games added hidden animated sex scenes.

8. Merck's Pain. Hiding the risks associated with taking its painkiller Vioxx could cause Merck an $18 billion litigation heartache.

9. Snapple's Meltdown. It was the first day of summer in steamy New York, so Snapple put a 35,000-pound ice pop in the middle of Union Square at midday. When the 25-foot high ice sculpture melted, bicyclists wiped out in the stream of kiwi-strawberry goo.

10. Natl. Academy of Sciences Publishes How-To for Milk Terror. When Lawrence M. Wein and Yifan Liu of Stanford University wrote a scientific article discussing how terrorists could poison thousands of people by releasing toxins into the U.S. milk supply, the National Academy of Sciences published it over the objections of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Special Offer from Idea Grove: Get the media coverage your brand deserves with a 3-month Digital PR Survey Campaign
Show Comments

Join the conversation

About the Author

Scott Baradell
Scott Baradell
Trust expert Scott Baradell is CEO and founder of Idea Grove. Idea Grove helps its clients secure trust at scale through its unique Grow With TRUST approach. Scott is an established authority on trust and editor of the online publication Trust Signals, as well as author of the upcoming book Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World. Idea Grove celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2020, earning honors including the 2020 Pegasus Award for Small Agency of the Year, being named a Top 200 B2B service provider by Clutch, and ranking in the top 25 tech agencies in the U.S. by O'Dwyer's. Scott has an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and speaks on PR and marketing topics at industry events nationwide.

How can we help you?