CrisisResponsePro Releases First Annual List of the Worst- and Best-Handled Crisis Communications of the Year

Dec 17, 2015, 05:15 ET from CrisisResponsePro

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CrisisResponsePro (, a secure and innovative subscription portal for crisis and litigation communications, today released its first annual list of the worst- and best-handled crisis communications responses of 2015.

For more detail on the rankings, please view the post on our blog, "Confront the Crisis."

"Our big winner this year is NFL's Deflategate, which tops our list as the worst crisis communications response of 2015," said Jim Haggerty, founder and CEO of CrisisResponsePro. "The NFL knows a thing or two about fumbles, and with their botched communications response to Deflategate, they really took the air out of this year's Super Bowl."


1. National Football League (Deflategate)
The NFL basically communicated nothing to the fans other than that it was launching an investigation. Its reputation (already sullied by domestic-violence and other scandals) wasn't exactly varnished by its handling of this one.

2. Volkswagen (emissions scandal)
Volkswagen had no crisis-detection system to discover that someone was gaming the system. Few bought (now ex-) CEO Martin Winterkorn's boilerplate about customer trust being what Volkswagen cherishes most. The company's efforts continue to not impress.

3. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (accounting accusations)
Valeant's explanations for its relationship with (and non-disclosure of) a network of specialty pharmacies were just weird. A crisis in which you're being compared to Enron requires a more forthright response.

4. Subway (Jared Fogle)
Subway's statements about its spokesman pleading guilty to child pornography were terse and defensive. The "drip, drip, drip" approach to messaging showed it had no strategy — even with six weeks between FBI raid and official charges to develop one.

5. Fifa (corruption scandal)
From Sepp Blatter being reelected president two days after the mass corruption arrests to its communications director cracking a joke about the arrests, Fifa never got control over the crisis and never communicated in a way to convince the public it would.


1. Lufthansa (Germanwings crash)
Lufthansa arranged for flights for the victims' families, grayed out its logos, and smartly canceled its 60th anniversary celebrations. CEO Carsten Spohr's messages about the crash were emotional and sympathetic.

2. Whole Foods (pricing scandal)
At first, Whole Foods resisted New York City's claim it was overcharging customers, but it executed an impressive turnaround ("Straight up, we made some mistakes"). It also outlined changes to prevent future pricing problems.

3. United Airlines (political scandal)
United Airlines deserves kudos for its handling of the feds' probe into whether it bribed an official for airport improvements. It launched an internal investigation and forced out its CEO. Each move was communicated well each step of the way.

4. Chipotle (E. coli)
While Chipotle's E. coli (and norovirus) crisis continues, its response has been admirable, beginning with closing 43 restaurants. Whatever the company's operational problems — or bad luck — its communications are impressive.

5. NBC News (Brian Williams)
The main problem NBC News faced when its star anchor was found to have fabricated aspects of his personal story was Williams himself. His attempts at explanation were botched. The network took control, investigated, and suspended Williams.


Launched in mid-2015, CrisisResponsePro's highly secure, web-based subscription portal brings the crisis communications team together and provides content, resources and a collaborative platform to respond quickly and effectively to immediate crises like physical accidents, data breaches or product recalls, as well as longer-term issues related to legal, regulatory or public affairs matters.

For more information about CrisisResponsePro, visit


Andrea Garcia

PRCG - Haggerty



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