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6 Times Brand Apologises Made Sense

Updated: Nov 28, 2021

A genuine apology is quite hard to find. We all have heard awful apologies like: "Sorry you feel that way", or "I am sorry but it was out of my hand", where the person is not at all regretting their behaviour. And through the years we have also seen apologies by corporations that made things even worst.

Like, when BP CEO Tony Hayward apologised for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and added the sentence “I’d like my life back.” making the apology about himself. The apology, for obvious reasons, came under scrutiny and became one of the worst brand apologies of all time. But not everything is bleak and some brands have been able to turn a PR disaster upside down just with the help of a good apology.

KFC Adds Humor to apologize for chicken shortage

When KFC ran out of chicken in many cities and had to temporarily shut down its 900 restaurants in the UK, annoyed customers vented their hearts out on social media. KFC took a risk and added humour to its apology, while so taking accountability for the inconvenience to customers.

KFC took out a full-page ad in London newspapers that simply showed its signature chicken bucket with a re-worked logo. And below it was an apology, along with a brief explanation of the problem.

O.B. Tampons Creates 10,000 Personalized Apology Videos

In 2010, a batch of O.B. tampons was abruptly recalled off the shelves after supply issues, and customers were angry. O.B.’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson, sent a personalized apology song to over 65,000 women registered in the company’s database.

They sent an apology email to these women and at the end of the email was a link to their personalised song. Customers shared these videos over social media helping O.B. turn a potential PR disaster into a social media win (which, as we know, are quite hard to get now days).

Airbnb Diversity Apology

The most genuine kind of apology is the apology that is followed up by change. When Airbnb came under hot waters for racial profiling in December 2015, the organization took accountability and addressed the issue proactively with an inclusion campaign video and a letter from CEO to all the members. But what makes it a good apology is the action the organization took by putting a policy in place along with audits to avoid such situations in the future.

Netflix apologies for sudden price increase

In 2011, when DVDs were still a significant part of Netflix’s business, the company decided to charge users separately for streaming and DVDs. The change meant a price increase of about 60% that customers weren’t happy about. The CEO sent an honest apology to subscribers and admitted he had messed up.

Sony Helps Remedy Data Breach

In 2011, Sony was the victim of one of the largest data breaches at the time. Personal information of over 77 million PlayStation users was leaked. In addition to apologizing, the Sony also gifted the users free month of PlayStation Plus and identity theft insurance to remedy the situation.

Apple and Taylor Swift Fiasco

In 2015, U.S. pop artist Taylor Swift announced a boycott of Apple Music on social media. The reason being that the service did not pay artists for any of their music that was being played during its one month free trial period.

The company also announced its wrong doing on social media. With the help of Eddy, SVP of Internet Software and Services, and posted what they were doing to make it right.

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