In Crisis Management, Reputation


Kudos to Adecco for demonstrating what a smart company does when they mess up (see Ragan’s PR Daily) The company launched a contest called “Around the World in 80 Jobs” that unwittingly took the name of a well-established blog by Turner Barr.  Understandably, Barr was far from pleased.   His fans and followers launched a Twitter campaign using #makeitright.  And Adecco did make it right.


They have renamed their contest “The Work Experience Contest,” and on June 21, issued the following statement:

“We deeply regret if we hurt Turner Barr. This was never our intention when we set up our “Around the World in 80 Jobs” contest. We clearly see that Turner is an inspiration to many people. We feel there should be more of such initiatives that inspire people to live their dreams and achieve their ambitions. Unfortunately, we moved forward with a name and contest that clearly upset Turner and his community. We sincerely apologize for that mistake. When Turner contacted us about his concern, and we understood the full situation, we immediately engaged with him to try to make things right. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find common ground so far…


After some negotiations with Barr, Adecco released this classically-rooted, pitch-perfect apology five days later:

“We have spoken with Turner and have come to an agreement about how we can make it right with him. Sometimes corporations can make mistakes. We are sorry, Turner.


We will also deliver on our promise to the youngsters who won and deserve a unique job experience. We will make sure that every winner experiences the possibilities and opportunities the world of work brings.


We’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks. We will work to make this right. We will do this because we are a company of great people who sometimes make mistakes, learn from them and do better next time.”


Why is it pitch-perfect?  It contains all the elements of a sincere apology:

  • Acknowledge the mistake
  • Demonstrate real regret
  • Show you are taking honest responsibility for the offense
  • Explain what you’ve learned that will keep it from happening again
  • Make changes to respond to the lesson.


Clearly, when corporations screw-up they should apologize.  Most of the time, that’s simply not the case.  They dig in their heels; call in the attorneys and pretend they are above reproach.  This time, one got it right.



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