Prince Andrew, Boeing, Corbyn? – PR chiefs choose the worst PR performers of 2019

PRWeek Power Book entrants have bestowed Prince Andrew as the biggest PR disaster in the past year – but many others have been slated for their poor comms. Here's the top 10.

Officially the worst: Prince Andrew (©GettyImages)
Officially the worst: Prince Andrew (©GettyImages)

PRWeek launched the 2020 edition of the Power Book last week and entrants were asked to identify who handled PR most poorly over the preceding 12 months. 

An incredible 197 PR chiefs (nearly half) chose the Duke of York after his infamous BBC Newsnight interview with Emily Maitliss.

Prince Andrew picked up more votes than the rest of the top 10 list combined.

"PR disaster of the year, decade and possibly even century," was the opinion of Frankie Cory, group marketing and comms director at Fremantle.

Paul Matthews, head of comms and corporate affairs at Unilever, simply asked: "Shouldn't this question end with 'apart from Prince Andrew'?"

Eighteen Power Book members chose the royal family more broadly as the worst PR operators of the year, and 11 plumped for Harry and Meghan.

Second in the list was Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, with 49 votes, following the party's dismal showing at last year's general election.

Staying with politics, and 11 PR leaders believe UK politicians in general deserve to be considered the year's worst PR operators.

The Liberal Democrats and Jo Swinson clocked up eight votes. Boris Johnson received just three - one behind Donald Trump.

Boeing was the other name near the top of the table - third, with 43 votes - following its airline crash response in 2019.

There were also dishonourable mentions for Facebook, Extinction Rebellion, WeWork, Tesla/Elon Musk, Pelaton, Italy's Serie A football division, easyJet, Saudia Arabia, and more.

Click here to view the PRWeek UK Power Book 2020.

Who handled PR most poorly in the past year?

1) Prince Andrew (197 votes)

2) The Labour Party and/or Jeremy Corbyn (49)

3) Boeing (43)

4) The Royal family (18)

=5) UK politicians/Harry and Meghan (11)

6) The Liberal Democrat Party and/or Jo Swinson (8)

7) Facebook (7)

8) Extinction Rebellion (6)

9) WeWork (5)

=10) Peloton/Serie A/Donald Trump/Telsa or Elon Musk (4)

More from the 2020 Power Book:

Activation to zeitgeist: A to Z of terrible PR jargon (according to the PRWeek Power Book)

Who's in? PRWeek launches UK Power Book and lists lead players in each sector

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Consumer PR – Top 10 creative directors (and their favourite campaigns)

In Pictures: PRWeek UK Power Book 2020 launch

PRWeek UK Power Book 2020: Top 10 in sport comms (agency)

From the editor-in-chief: Putting the most powerful PR pros under the spotlight

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