Between Pepsi, United and Spicer, Who Apologized Better?
Between a commercial, passenger abuse and a comparison to Hitler, a lot of people had regrets in the last few days.
Three gigantic requests for forgiveness have come back-to-back-to-back after Pepsi, United Airlines and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer all had massive public relations gaffes in the last two weeks.
Crisis manager Karen Kessler told Inside Edition there are four things to make a good corporate apology.
"You have to apologize. You have to know who you are apologizing to. You have to know what you are apologizing for. You have to do it again after you apologize," she said.
Given the current climate of backlash and subsequent apologies, the advice may never be as significant as it is today.
Last Tuesday, Pepsi set social media ablaze after an ad featuring Kendall Jenner ditching a modeling gig to stand on the front lines of a protest to hand a cop a can of soda as a peace offering.
Coincidentally, the commercial came on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination and was widely regarded as tone-deaf.
Pepsi was immediately slammed, and within 24 hours the company pulled the commercial saying, "Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize."
"They took a little more time than they should have, but they handled it the right way," Kessler told Inside Edition.
This week brought on two controversies that led to major figures asking for clemency.
Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, admitted he "screwed up" after controversial remarks about Adolf Hitler during Tuesday's press briefing, adding that he let the president down.
After reporters and social media erupted in response to Spicer’s comments, he immediately issued a statement to clarify his comments.
“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust," Spicer said. "I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers.
Early Wednesday morning, he spoke at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and said: “It is painful to myself to know I did something like that.”
He also expressed his regret on CNN Wednesday, saying, "I apologize, it is a mistake to do that."
The timing of Spicer's comments could not have been worse, as they were made during the Jewish feast of Passover.
"His was fast, his was thorough, his was sincere, I believe," Kessler said. “I think when the topic is Hitler, there is no such thing as apologizing too much.
The week also saw the now-infamous video of Dr. David Dao being knocked unconscious and dragged off a United Airlines plane after refusing to give up his seat.
After first describing Dr. Dao as "disruptive and belligerent,” United CEO Oscar Munoz changed his tune two days later in an interview with Good Morning America and formally apologized.
"United is in the hall of shame and has a very big hole to dig itself out of," Kessler said.
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