J.C. Penney and 6 Other Noteworthy Company Apologies

PHOTO: In this photo illustration the apology put out by News International and signed by Rupert Murdoch in some of today's national newspapers is displayed next to copies of the former News Of The World newspaper on July 18, 2011.
Getty Images

When someone is wronged, they like to hear the wrongdoer express contrition, whether it's a significant other or a multinational corporation.

On Wednesday, PepsiCo apologized for a Mountain Dew ad that critics called "racist" for playing into racial stereotypes of African American men. The company pulled the ad.

Department store J.C. Penney launched a commercial this week expressing remorse for store changes. The ad was actually developed under fired CEO Ron Johnson before he left the company.

Here's more about J.C. Penney and six other notable company apologies that made headlines.

J.C. Penney

PHOTO: JCPenney has started an ad campaign, seen here in this video grab from a YouTube clip posted by the company on April 30, 2013, to apologize about recent changes that the company made, and to ask customers back.
JCPenney/YouTube
Mea Culpa ads developed under fired CEO

In J.C. Penney's new ad, a female voiceover says, "It's no secret, recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn't, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you."

The 30-second ad was first developed months ago, before former CEO Ron Johnson was ousted by the board in early April.

Read more: JCP Leads Top 7 Recent CEO Disasters

J.C. Penney's sales floundered in the last year after the company used a new "Fair and Square" pricing strategy, cut reliance on coupons, and offered "stores" within the store. In February, the company said its fourth-quarter net loss was $428 million. But under the leadership of Johnson's predecessor, Myron Ullman, the company is re-thinking its strategy.

"Come back to JCPenney, we heard you. Now, we'd love to see you," the ad ends.

Apple Inc.

PHOTO: A woman walks past an Apple store in Beijing on April 2, 2013. Apple chief executive Tim Cook has apologised to Chinese consumers after the US technology giant was subjected to a barrage of criticism in state-run media over alleged "arrogance" and
Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images
Tim Cook apologizes about maps, Chinese warranties

Apple CEO Tim Cook has reversed course from his predecessor Steve Jobs by apologizing publicly not once, but at least twice since he took the reins of leadership in August 2011.

Last September, Cook apologized for Apple's new maps app in a letter posted on the company website.

Users complained about glitches including misplaced points of interest and lost functionality in public transportation schedules in some cities.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Cook wrote in the letter.

Just last month, Cook apologized to Apple's Chinese customers for misunderstandings about its repair and warranty policy in China, such as shorter warranty periods compared to other countries, and uneven repair quality.

"In the past two weeks, we have received a lot of feedback about Apple's repair and warranty policy in China," a translated version of Cook's letter reads. "We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gives consumers."

Related story: Apple (AAPL) Offers Record $17 Billion Worth of Bonds

Hyundai

PHOTO: Hyundai has pulled an ad meant to poke humor at attempts to commit suicide in cars.
YouTube
Company pulls attempted suicide ad

Hyundai Motors Europe apologized for an ad that depicted a man trying to commit suicide by breathing car exhaust in his car.

The one-minute ad for its 100 percent water emissions car was pulled after a woman whose father had committed suicide by that method complained.

"Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral film," read a statement from the company. "The film runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community. We are very sorry for any offense or distress the video caused."

News Corp.

PHOTO: In this photo illustration the apology put out by News International and signed by Rupert Murdoch in some of today's national newspapers is displayed next to copies of the former News Of The World newspaper on July 18, 2011.
Getty Images
Murdoch apologizes about tampering with murdered girl's phone

In July 2011, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch published an apology in British newspapers after it was discovered that a murdered teen's phone was hacked by now-defunct newspaper News of the World in 2002.

"The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself. We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred," Murdoch wrote in the one-page apology. "We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected. We regret not acting faster to sort things out. I realise that simply apologising is not enough."

Murdoch apologized multiple times to members of the British Parliament during their inquiry into the hacking scandal.

BP

PHOTO: Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images
Worst offshore spill in U.S. history

After BP's Macondo well ruptured on April 20, 2011, which triggered an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, killing 11 and causing the worst offshore spill in U.S. history, the company knew it had some apologizing to do.

In June 2010, the company began airing a commercial featuring then BP CEO Tony Hayward saying he was "deeply sorry," and "we will make this right."

Legal proceedings are still taking place over the millions of gallons oil that were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans may decide months from now what BP's cement contractor, Halliburton, and the rig owner Transocean also owe for the disaster.

Coca-Cola

PHOTO: Coca-Cola Co signage is displayed on top of a building on Bryant Street in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Feb. 6, 2013.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The New Coke flops

In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company launched the New Coke, which had a different formula, which had not changed in 99 years.

After a maelstrom of complaints, namely 1,500 calls a day as opposed to the usual 400, the company returned to the original formula after 79 days, now called Coca-Cola classic.

Even Coca-Cola has made fun of the snafu, recalling the historic moment on its website.

"To hear some tell it, April 23, 1985, was a day that will live in marketing infamy," states an article on Coca-Cola's website. "On that day, The Coca-Cola Company took arguably the biggest risk in consumer goods history, announcing that it was changing the formula for the world's most popular soft drink, and spawning consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen."

Barclays

PHOTO: Robert "Bob" Diamond, former chief executive officer of Barclays Plc, center, reacts as he leaves Portcullis House in London, U.K., on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Diamond, who gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, resigned as chief executive
Paul Thomas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Libor scandal

In July, 2012, Barclays' Marcus Agius issued an apology about manipulating Libor lending rates after resigning as chairman. Regulators from the U.S. and U.K. investigated schemes to fix the London Interbank Offered Rate, affecting as much as $350 trillion in loans and other financial products.

"We are sorry for the issues that have emerged over recent weeks and recognise that we have disappointed our customers and shareholders," Agius said in a statement.

Barclays, the world's third-largest bank, settled with British and American regulators for $450 million.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: In this stock image, a lumberjack is pictured.
Joze Pojbic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Left, an undated file photo provided by the Spokane County Sheriff shows Bombing Kevin William Harpham; right, in this undated photo provided by the Johnson County Sheriff, Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., appears in a booking photo.
Spokane County Sheriff/AP Photo| Johnson County Sheriff via Getty Images
PHOTO: The tires of a Studebaker, missing since 1971, are visible in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D. in this undated file photo.
South Dakota Attorney General?s Office/AP Photo