Nadia Bartel, Sam Frost, Pete Evans: Australia’s biggest PR fails of 2021

Nadia Bartel learned a harsh lesson from her leaked video scandal, but she wasn’t the only celebrity facing a year of hell in 2021.

Former AFL WAG Nadia Bartel found out the hard way how damaging a leaked video scandal can be in 2021.

After parting ways with former Geelong star Jimmy Bartel in 2019, the influencer ended 2020 at a high level after landing a series of lucrative endorsement deals, while her own fashion label Henne had become a must-have brand. .

But earlier this year it all fell apart after she was caught on video inhaling white powder at a home gathering during the Covid lockdown in Melbourne.

The reaction was swift and brutal, and despite a humiliating public apology, several brands quickly broke their association with the 36-year-old, who has kept a low profile in the months since the scandal broke.

Australian public relations expert Nicole Reaney told that the Nadia Bartel saga was a “lesson for anyone who relies on their profile for income.”

“Meaningful social following comes with less control of the information that is available to the media and the public,” explained Ms. Reaney.

He said the decision by big brands like JS Health and Hairhouse Australia to cut ties with the mother of two was inevitable as it was something they “had to do to avoid impact on their brand values.”

However, the leaked video of Nadia Bartel was not the only massive public relations failure to hit Australia in 2021.

The Pete Evans PR Disaster

It’s been another wild year for celebrity chef Pete Evans, who continued to speak out against Covid vaccines.

In fact, his Covid disinformation campaign attracted so much attention that he was even banned from Instagram in February, and a spokesperson for parent company Facebook told at the time that his account was removed for “repeatedly sharing claims. discredited about the coronavirus or vaccines “.

Ms Reaney said he was “known for stirring the pot” but that opinions on health matters “are best left to those with the experience and medical degree.”

“We have learned (about) the dire effects from one of the first influential people, Belle Gibson. The difference here is that this is a global pandemic that is affecting the entire population, “he said, adding that the misinformation from Covid was” highly damaging. “

“Instagram took action by banning his account. Data and information accountability is one of the biggest public relations challenges that social platforms are tackling right now, ”he said.

Sam’s Summer Bay departure

At the beginning of this year, At home and awaySam Frost also made headlines for her stance on the vaccine after revealing that she was not vaccinated against Covid in an emotional video shared on her Instagram in early October.

In December, he announced that he would be leaving Summer Bay after severing ties with Channel 7 following the network’s vaccination mandate.

Reaney said the 32-year-old former reality star may have shot herself in the foot with her unexpected jab announcement.

“The issue of vaccination is so contentious and it really is one of the first times that we see personal health tarnished by policies and the image of employers,” he said.

“With the push for mandatory vaccinations in work and personal settings, it is dangerous territory for celebrities to speak out against the majority.

“Future employers, depending on their own values ​​and policies, might be hesitant to hire Sam, or at least have very strict codes on what employees can say or do if it has the potential to influence their own reputation.”

Vaccine walk

Australia lagged behind most of the planet when it came to launching the Covid vaccine, although we’ve really caught up in recent months, and it now boasts one of the highest jab rates in the world.

But Ms Reaney called the launch a “public relations disaster” and said the government had missed its message for months and months.

“The launch of the Covid-19 vaccine was a public relations disaster, as the government did not own the narrative and did not communicate effectively with the population, such as culturally and linguistically diverse communities, the elderly and communities. indigenous people, ”he said.

Brittany Higgins accusations botched

Brittany Higgins came forward in February this year claiming that she had been sexually assaulted in Parliament in March 2019.

Ms. Reaney said that the government’s response to Ms. Higgins’s allegations had been “very mishandled.”

“The accusations have been added to the persistent calls for radical changes in the culture of the workplace and, without a doubt, the environment of the political office where the legislation is born and is maintained must be the workplace that leads by example” , He said.

Scott Morrison was criticized for his response to the scope of the allegations when he responded from the lens of a parent.

“While it is natural to relate experiences to your own circumstance, when it comes to statistics on male-directed violence that has permeated so many homes here in Australia, the zero tolerance stance is one that everyone should adopt regardless of their experience as a husband. or father “.

Gladys’s brutal fall

Since her “halo year” in 2020, former New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian has met her downfall this year following months of divisive Covid restrictions and her abrupt resignation ahead of the ICAC investigation into her. relationship with Daryl Maguire and potential conflicts of interest.

Reaney said that many Australians had respected Berejiklian’s handling of the pandemic, even if they disagreed with all of his decisions, but that the ICAC scandal had seriously damaged his reputation.

“While there are still population groups who side with her for her leadership during the pandemic, many were divided or changed their minds as a result of the recent revelations,” Ms Reaney said.

On the prime ministers’ issue, Reaney said Queensland leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s harsh border closures had also sparked a backlash, as well as her recent “backlash” in the decision to force passengers on two Virgin flights to spend Christmas in isolation.

Coon cheese rebrand

It seems like a lifetime ago, but 2021 was the year the iconic Coon cheese brand rebranded itself “Cheer” after a highly publicized campaign by anti-racism activists.

Reaney said the rebrand highlighted the challenge brands face as they evolve alongside new generations and societal norms.

“In the era of indigenous awareness and cultural inclusion, the company tried to identify a name that was not controversial,” he said.

“Today, brands really are challenged to please everyone. It is really a judgment call to determine what adaptations brands make and there is a risk that by pleasing one group, it will divide another.

“The new name didn’t cheer anyone up, not even the very community it was seeking to please, and many questioned the lackluster decision.”


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