10 Disastrous PR Moves by Companies

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- The business world will always have loose cannons -- executives who stray from their crafted bullet points to say cringe-worthy things.

There are also decisions made at the top that no public relations expert would ever condone. When AIG ( AIG ) was spared from extinction with an $85 billion federal bailout from the government, its clueless leadership didn't think twice about spending nearly a half-million dollars on a luxurious spa retreat and golf outing for executives.

Executives for the "big three" automakers made a political miscalculation by flying into Washington, D.C., hat in hand for a bailout -- on corporate jets. Chastened by the response, they later overdid things by driving themselves in hybrid cars.

In looking at some of the biggest PR miscues in recent years, we discounted thick-headed blunders such as these. No matter how good internal or external PR departments are, they can be no match for a CEO gone rogue.

Instead, we focused on situations where a company's public response amid controversy was either too little, too late or dishonest and it was the spinmeisters themselves making the unforced errors. The following are 10 examples of when spin control spun out of control and a PR strategy only made matters worse:

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