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The TB Christmas Awards for PR excellence

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‘TIS the season for kindness and humility. For forgiving each other’s failings.

But that’s not what you are here for.

Instead let’s celebrate PR in all its glory, as corporate communications professionals did what they do best – opened their legs and showed their class.

The “Wrong time to crack jokes” award, goes to…Boeing

It was bad enough that Boeing’s planes kept crashing, killing hundreds of customers. Best leave that sort of caper to the tobacco industry.

Boeing was already winning the race to be the company with the worst PR of 2020 when it stepped things up a notch. In fact, it lapped itself.

Emails sent to investigators looking into why the 737 Max didn’t like flying included employees agreeing they wouldn’t let their own families on board, and another saying “this airplane is designed by clowns who are in turn supervised by monkeys”. Awks.

The “Green about the gills’ award for PR that induces share price nausea”, goes to… BP

BP irritated more than a few hacks by using a Bloomberg TV presenter to front up a joint media and investor presentation. If corporate comms were measured by stock performance, BP is near bottom. The shares are down 42%, worse than every company in the Footsie, save Rolls Royce and IAG. And, more significantly, appreciably worse than its Big Oil peers like Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, Chevron and Total. This probably isn’t the fault of the flaks, but tough.

The “Maggie Thatcher u-turn if you want to/the rules don’t apply to me” award goes to…Dominic Cummings.

Quite possibly on his own Cummings crashed the government’s entire communications strategy of which he was supposedly in charge by breaking lockdown rules, notably by driving a car to “test his eyesight”.

He had to go, eventually, but not before a string of rapidly hilarious u-turns on, well, almost everything.

The “Racial Sensitivity” award goes to…Well Fargo.

This US bank finds trouble too much fun to avoid, getting a $3 billion fine in February for a “staggering” fake-accounts scandal.

This wasn’t enough for CEO Charles Scharf who explained the lack of diversity at the top of the bank on “the unfortunate reality that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from”.

Luckily, race wasn’t a big issue this year or he could really have ruffled some feathers.

The “Do a Google search on your new brand ambassador” award goes to…Dunkin’ Donuts

Snoop Dogg is a fine ambassador for a family-brand such as Dunkin’ with hit songs such as “Ballin’”, “Bitches Ain’t Shit”, “Deez Nuuuts” and “Hoez”.

It was a terrible shock to the dougnuts in charge of marketing when he threatened CBS news anchor Gayle King and called for the release of Bill Cosby.

This sort of thing was impossible to have foreseen.

The “Mike Ashley Tin Ear” award goes to…Mike Ashley

The cool thing about Mike Ashley is that he does not care what you think.

Whether power vomiting into a pub fireplace or slagging off rivals he is plotting to buy, the Sports Direct boss never lets you down.

He topped himself this year with a spectacular misread of public and government mood by insisting his stores are such a vital national asset they would stay open during the first lockdown.

When this failed, he put the price of home fitness products up by 50%.

Like Brazil in 1970, Ashley has won this trophy so many times he gets to keep it.

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