What do Tom Cruise, Pat Robertson, Vioxx and Rockstar Games have in common?
All were named to a list of 2005's biggest P.R. blunders.
Since 1995 Fineman PR, a San Francisco public relations firm, has issued its annual list of the top 10 P.R. pratfalls. This year Cruise made it for his well-publicized flip-out on the Today Show. Television preacher Robertson earned a spot for advocating the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Concealing the health risks of painkiller Vioxx guaranteed pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck's inclusion.
As for Rockstar, including the Hot Coffee sex animations alone might not have propelled them on to the list. Repeatedly lying about how the steamy content got onto game discs, however, sealed their place in the Pantheon of PR disasters.
Michael Fineman, creator of the list, explained that corporate mistakes are unavoidable. How they are managed is often the difference between a mere problem and a full-on P.R. disaster.
"A lot of these blunders oftentimes are not about honest mistakes that people make. Oftentimes the difference lies in the response that the organizations make to the original blunder. And oftentimes that response if filled with arrogance and so forth - and that's really where they make their biggest mistake...
Yep. Sure sounds like Rockstar's disastrous mismanagement of the Hot Coffee fiasco.
GP: Tough month for Rockstar and parent company Take-Two Interactive. Just last week Take-Two boss Paul Eibeler was named "Worst CEO of 2005" by MarketWatch. We imagine they will make a few more naughty lists by year's end. We already know they'll be on ours, which you'll hear next week in the Special Holiday Edition of the GamePolitics podcast.