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It’s no surprise that the end product is ultimately the most important tool in business. It attracts customers, brings in revenue and ensures customers are loyal. However, if one fault slips past quality assurance then there will be a PR disaster to deal with, as these five companies learned.
1. iPhone 6+ #Bendgate
In 2014 Apple released their sixth generation of mobile phone: the iPhone 6 and 6+. The 6+ featured everything a consumer would want ranging from a bigger screen, 4G connectivity and a bendable handset. Yes, you read that correctly. Whether it was due to the aluminium core inside the back of the phone or the phone having a weak point, the phone would bend just below the volume down button, causing the screen to snap out of the shell. It’s safe to say that this turned into a PR nightmare for Apple when KitKat took a dig at them.
2. Heinz didn’t check the quality of the sauce
It was a lunchtime in May 2015 and Daniel Korell scanned a QR code on a Heinz ketchup bottle. To his surprise, the QR code took him to something a little bit too saucy: a porn site. Mr Korell then decided to post what he found on the Heinz Facebook page, causing the company to promptly apologise. Meanwhile, the site that has had all of this increased attention tried to offer Mr Korell a free year-long subscription. Suffice to say that Mr Korell denied their offer.
3. Ford Pinto revs and possibly explodes
From 1971 through to 1976, Ford released the Pinto to counteract the rise in quality Japanese car models. The problem with the Pinto was the fact that the fuel tank and the rear bumper were too close together, meaning that if there was a head on collision it could possibly explode on impact. Ford knew about the problem through their initial testing, but chose to cut costs. Even worse, they refused to redesign the fuel tank, instead deciding that it would be cheaper to pay off the resulting lawsuits.
4. Toyota’s Total Recall
From 2009 through to 2011, Toyota had a series of recalls for various, but connected, issues. The original recall was due to the floor mats potentially sticking to the accelerator, which affected a total of 3.8 million vehicles sold in North America. The second recall began on January 21st 2010, covering a total of 4.1 million vehicles that had issues with sticky accelerators. The final recall occurred due to a glitch with Toyota’s anti-lock software. This was a voluntary recall however, due to the fact that this fault could be solved with a patch.
5. The 2010 BP Oil Rig Explosion
In April 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and causing what was arguably the largest blowout in oil industry history. Though there are multiple factors to blame in this incident, ranging from the processes within the company to the quality of the cement used to cap the rig, there is no doubt that BP learnt a tough lesson in the importance of quality assurance.