The best and worst PR of 2016

By: Nicole Raymond


Photo created by Nicole Raymond using Canva

The year 2016 witnessed drastic change throughout the world that will go down in history. There were plenty of memorable PR moments this past year, and I’ve chosen two for us to learn from. Here are my top picks for the best and worst PR of 2016:

In a bold move toward the right direction, Cover Girl, who typically hires female celebrity spokespeople, did something mind blowing when they hired a male high school student to be the newest face of the Cover Girl brand. Although Cover Boy James Charles is not a celebrity in the traditional sense, he does have well over half a million followers on Instagram and 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

This big decision made by Cover Girl allowed the brand to show their disapproval of the gender stereotypes our culture perpetuates. The year 2016 saw a lot of acceptance and many brands used their platforms to showcase their commitment to crushing stereotypes, which is why I chose Cover Girl for the best PR in 2016 (Safronova, 2016).

Wells Fargo had a heavy crisis on their shoulders when it was discovered that millions of fake bank accounts had been created by employees, in real customers’ names to meet their sales goals. This crisis was huge, and Wells Fargo couldn’t seem to make it out of the headlines.

Initially, the banking giant tried to fix the crisis by firing more than 5,000 employees, but that wasn’t enough. More and more information trickled through their Band-Aid covered wound. They allowed the woman in charge of the employees to retire and keep her millions of dollars in bonuses and stocks, even though she failed to see the misjudgment of her employees and stop their actions.

Furthermore, Wells Fargo’s two CEOs have been signing off on their annual reports, meaning they were either ignorant and weren’t doing their jobs properly, or they knowingly were committing fraud. Their CEO was eventually forced to resign and all the while their PR practitioners were creating videos to tell their public that Wells Fargo was trustworthy, furthering their time in the limelight. Maybe not the best use of resources, which is why I chose Wells Fargo for the worst PR of 2016 (Watson, 2016).

Do you think there was a company with better or worse PR than Cover Girl and Wells Fargo in 2016? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting me @NicoleRaymond74.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.


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