Ono the Ostrich CRISIS MANAGER
The Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management 

"For Those Who Are Crisis Managers,
Whether They Want to be or Not"

© 2017 Jonathan Bernstein

PwC Steps Into La La Land

Volume XVIII, Number 2

February 28, 2017    
Just a Thought  
"Bad news doesn't age well." 

- Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman PwC
From the Editor 
Although it's not typically a riveting piece of television, this year's Oscars did give us something discussion-worthy beyond who wore what on the red carpet. In a blunder that you'd have to be avoiding the internet to have missed by now, the wrong winner was announced for Best Picture. And not with an instant, "Woops, nevermind"...the poor movie producers (ok maybe poor isn't the right word) were actually on-stage delivering acceptance speeches when staffers came to pull them off and correct the mistake!

It was quickly revealed that PwC, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, is responsible for tabulating and delivering Academy Awards voting results. And, that this wasn't a calculation error but a simple mistake of handing over the wrong envelope. Ouch.

Mistakes happen, and sometimes BIG mistakes happen. What matters is your response. PwC's U.S. chairman Tim Ryan took the lead for this one, and I was impressed. A quote from the NY Times coverage of the crisis really caught my eye:

"What was going though my head at the time was, 'We have to get to the bottom of this, and if we made a mistake, we'll own up to it,'" Mr. Ryan said. "My philosophy in life is, bad news doesn't age well."

The cause of the problem was known rapidly, nothing was hurt beyond pride, no lasting damage was done, and nobody's daily lives were disrupted. This is prime circumstance for a quick recovery and PwC pounced on the opportunity. Ryan shared similar sentiments with the press throughout the night and next day, and PwC also published a statement which was shared widely:

We sincerely apologize to "Moonlight," "La La Land," Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.

We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.


The Academy's copyright enforcement makes it difficult for video of the event to live on via YouTube as well, meaning I expect this crisis to "go away" before long.

- EB
Interested in reprinting BCM articles or blog posts?
We're happy to give permission for material to be reprinted in hard copy or online!

If you find something you would like to reprint, simply submit a request to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.


The Bernstein Crisis Management blog , along with our blog at the Free Management Library , are frequently updated and filled with case studies, advice, and the latest news on techniques, threats, and more.

Here, we share a look at some of the most popular posts from recent weeks:  

Samsung's Crisis Management Makeover - Part 1 asks the question - what changed in terms of strategy, and why did it work for the electronics giant?

Having a good name on the internet is crucial to business today, which is why we shared 3 Ways to Secure Your Online Reputation for 2017.

You didn't think we were done talking Samsung yet, did you?  Samsung's Crisis Management Makeover - Part 2 looks at what's next in the recovery process as well as some likely hurdles to come.

If you haven't taught your staff how to avoid an IT crisis you're asking to have one. It's time to Educate Your Employees to Avoid Data Breach.

Can the burrito chain finally call a wrap on its lengthy crisis?  Chipotle's Crisis Management: Road to Recovery reviews recent happenings and looks to the future.

Do you have a topic you'd like to see featured in our blogs? Send an email to erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com and there's a good chance you'll be seeing it right here in the next issue!
Business Announcements 
(aka blatant self-promotion) 
What if you could quickly find out how your stakeholders perceive you during a breaking crisis?

Bernstein Crisis Management now uses online surveys and other tools to get immediate stakeholder perception feedback,  during a breaking crisis, with the option of continuing to monitor perception post-crisis.  

Are There Any Holes in Your Crisis Planning?

Your organization may well have crisis prevention and response-related plans in place - but are you sure they're going to cover all the bases? Bernstein Crisis Management's Crisis Document Audit is a low-cost, flat-rate service which will quickly provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your existing plans and recommendations for improvement.
Contact jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com for more information.

We're Giving Away Keeping the Wolves at Bay and other crisis publications!

Several new items have been added to our FREE crisis management library, including  Keeping the Wolves at Bay, the widely used media-training manual published by Jonathan Bernstein.

To visit the download page, click here.
Social Media Crisis Training

A solid social media manager has quickly become a must-have for organizations of any size, and can make an immense difference by driving in customers and building your positive reputation online.

The problem is, the vast majority are simply not equipped to even identify building crises, much less take the steps necessary to cope with and mitigate the damage that can result.

That's where we come in.

Bernstein Crisis Management is now offering crisis management training for social media managers, both independent and in-house, as well as social media firms.

For an overview of our services, estimates, or more information, contact erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com

About Us


Jonathan Bernstein is both publisher of Crisis Manager and president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting.

Write to Jonathan at:

Erik Bernstein is vice president of Bernstein Crisis Management, and editor of this newsletter.  Working in crisis management since 2009, Erik has watched the internet and social media change the field. Today, he brings that experience to bear assisting clients to protect and grow their reputations using tactics based on real-world knowledge and experience.

Write to Erik at: 

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A service of this newsletter is to provide news summaries and/or snippets to readers. In such instances articles and/or snippets will be reprinted as they are received from the originating party or as they are displayed on the originating website or in the original article. As we do not write the news, we merely point readers to it, under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever due to the distribution of said news articles or snippets that lead readers to a full article on a news service's website, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Authors of the original news story and their publications shall be exclusively held liable. Any corrections to news stories are not mandatory and shall be printed at the discretion of the list moderator after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.


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