There's nothing more British than saying sorry. But when is an apology not an apology? Well, as Brewdog have shown us, when the words after ‘I’m sorry’ are ‘…for not giving a sh*t’. You may not agree with the sentiment, but you have to at least admire the brewers for showing some serious cojones with their fiery missive to The Portman Group, after the alcohol standards group banned their Dead Pony Club 3.8% ale. ‘Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a sh*t about anything the Portman Group has to say’ the greatest sorry-not-sorry continued, ‘and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance. Unfortunately, the Portman Group is a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants. Their raison d’être is to provide a diversion for the true evils of this industry, perpetrated by the gigantic faceless brands that pay their wages.’ Ouch.
To celebrate the noble art of false contrition, here is what we have learnt from the best of the worst, on how to give the ultimate non-apology.
1) KNOW YOUR (TRUE) AUDIENCE
Last year American sportswear brand Lululemon were forced to recall thousands of their signature ‘yoga pants’, after they were found to be almost see-through in certain positions rather crucial for the actual practice of the sport. When the CEO Chip Wilson went on Bloomberg TV to explain, he ended up saying that ‘some women’s bodies…just actually don’t work’, and continued to blame their thighs for rubbing together. The following week he posted a personal video to apologise… to his employees. ‘I’m sorry to have to put you all through this’ he said. Yeah, not sure you’ve quite got it there, Chip.
2) ADD FAST FOOD
Sure, everyone loves pizza, even the people who live in Dunkard Township, Pennsylvania. But sending them all a handwritten voucher for a free slice and a bottle of pop doesn’t quite seem to make up for a fire in their oil well that raged for five days, and killed one of the residents, especially when the coupon was only valid for a little over two months. Nice work, Chevron Corporation.
3) GO BIG AND FAKE IT
You can rely on Shia LeBeouf to do things, shall we say, ‘dramatically’. When he was accused of plagiarism last year, he hired a plane and dragged his apology across the LA skies, and then performed in his very own art installation, entitled ‘#IAmSorry’, during which he sat behind a table with a paper bag over his head. He also took to Twitter, using apologies taken from a post on Yahoo! Answers, Tiger Woods, Russell Crowe, Mark Zuckerberg, Robert McNamara and Kanye West.
4) WHAT EVER YOU DO, DON'T STOP
And while we’re on the subject of Kanye, who can forget his year-long grovel to Taylor Swift after he stormed the stage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, grabbed her microphone and declared that her gong for Best Video should have gone to his pal Beyonce. He said sorry on his blog, sat through a grilling on Leno, sent 72 rambling tweets, and still brings it up in interviews five years later. Sometimes, Kayne, less really is more.
5) AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS, DISARM WITH HUMOUR
When blogger October Jones tweeted that his Sainsbury’s chicken sandwich tasted like ‘it was beaten to death by Hulk Hogan’, the supermarket piped up: ‘Really sorry it wasn’t up to scratch. We will replace Mr. Hogan with the Ultimate Warrior on our production line immediately’.