Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Integrated Marketing Communication

First Advisor

Scott Fiene

Second Advisor

Deborah Hall

Third Advisor

Michael Tonos

Relational Format



By comparing the controversies that stemmed from Papa John’s John Schnatter and CrossFit’s Greg Glassman, some obvious public relations strategies stand out, including but not limited to understanding an audience, adapting to a changing environment, establishing a crisis communications plan, and taking controversial stands on issues close to the audience’s hearts. Most importantly though, if companies preach messages of social change, they must follow up on their stances with corrective action to do their best to help facilitate it in society.

While examining the history of corporate activism, it is clear why and how some corporations become the victims of public backlash. Operating in a time of heightened corporate activism is not simple, but being cognizant of the implications and following a set public relations plan can help eliminate the chances of companies making the same mistakes that Papa John’s and CrossFit did in the past.

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