PR News Readers Weigh In on Best/Worst PR Moves of 2010

While we’re all used to hearing from media pundits naming their best and worst in PR moves for the year, PR News brought the practice to the people, asking readers to name the best and worst PR moves of 2010 via an online contest form. We chose two people as winners—one for best PR move of the year and one for worst—from among the submissions, applying a bit of editorial punditry ourselves.

The worst PR move of the year won't come as a surprise to anybody. Interestingly, many of those who submitted entries selected only a worst PR move of the year. We're assuming the most successful PR initiatives don't get as much publicity.

Best PR Move of 2010: Sarah Palin's deft handling of the media. Sarah Palin successfully leveraged a public skeptical of mainstream media, using Facebook and Twitter as direct channels to consumers while bypassing traditional news outlets. Her new show on cable network TLC, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, allows her to express her family values and beliefs in a controlled setting. Love her or hate her, Palin made some shrewd PR moves in 2010. Congratulations to David Staddon, director of public information for the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in Vermont, for submitting the pick.

Worst PR Move of 2010: BP's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Like we said, no surprise here. The majority of our contest participants selected BP’s handling of the Gulf oil spill, specifically calling out CEO Tony Hayward for his infamous “I want my life back” quote. The BP spill was all-encompassing, and it was a crisis that, from just about every standpoint, was out of control. Since so many people picked BP, we chose the winner at random: Charlotte Donn, associate VP at the YMCA of Greater Miami.

Here’s a sampling of other reader picks for best and worst PR Moves of 2010:


  • The Chilean government’s smart handling of the mine crisis.
  • Michael Vick’s “transformation from dog killer to gridiron hero."
  • North American auto companies and how they’ve “overcome great adversity to bounce back in 2010.”


  • The handling of the Tiger Woods scandal, particularly his press conference “with his mother sitting in the front row glaring at him.”
  • Keeping with sports, Lebron James and “The Decision,” which alienated not only Cleveland residents, but sports fans around the country.
  • “The utter failure” of the White House to promote any of President Obama’s accomplishments before the midterm elections.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who participated. Be sure to keep track of the best and worst PR moves of 2011—and let's hope we won't see any oil spills for a while.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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