Now, that was a busy week of PR wasn’t it? As well as a Ben and Jerry’s gay marriage-friendly ice cream that at first sounded brilliant, but then was found not to actually exist, and the incorporation of homeless people into a wireless internet charity campaign by an ad agency, we’ve had some crackers that are much easier to define as good or bad. Have a wee look below, as my enduringly angry Scottish colleague Iona St Joseph might say.
Good PR of the week
Coffee has your name on it
A quick PR stunt to entice people into Starbucks coffee houses nationwide worked a treat this week.
The coffee company offered customers free lattes on Wednesday morning, to promote its new scheme whereby baristas will now be writing customer names on takeaway cups, in a bid to offer a more personal touch. All customers had to do was introduce themselves to a barista before noon to receive their complimentary caffeine fix.
The campaign seemed to pop up from nowhere, was shared with glee via Facebook and Twitter (everybody loves a freebie) and better yet – got people in stores, where they may well have put money across the counter, too.
Thanks to Louise Moran for Tweeting with this.
Tesco iPad bargain PR
A “technical glitch“ (read: purposeful PR effort) meant that Tesco’s site was offering customers the chance to pre-order the new iPad for just £49.99 earlier this week.
For a few hours, discount websites, forums and social networks were abuzz with “OMG QUICK IMMA GO AND BUY TWENTY” proclamations, and other similarly-worded unwittingly-promoting messages. Of course, Tesco was then able to highlight the relevant clause in its terms and conditions where it’s made clear that incorrect prices don’t have to be honoured if customers are told before the item has been shipped, giving it widespread press coverage to boot. The stunt was the best-read story on the BBC’s website – no mean feat.
Tesco’s ability to associate itself with the new iPad without costing it a penny is ingenious, and as identified by Asad Dhunna, other companies have been responsible for similar price “miscalculations“, including Argos and Next.
Out of space game launch
Prepare to have your socks blown off. That looks kinkier now it’s written down than it did in my head, but, I’ll stick with it.
To promote the new Angry Birds: Space game, developer Rovio has only managed to get an ACTUAL NASA astronaut, ACTUALLY in space, to announce the game’s launch.
From 242.5 miles above the earth’s surface, aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Don Pettit explains the physics behind the game, using a plush Red Bird and an orbital slingshot.
Watch what I’d describe as one of the best PR coups I’ve ever seen below:
Bad PR of the week
Write off Goldman Sachs
A Goldman Sachs executive director, Greg Smith, resigned this week, and took the company to the cleaners in his resignation letter, published here in full on the New York Times, in doing so.
In a letter entitled “why I am leaving Goldman Sachs“, Smith lays into the investment banking firm for its company-wide attitude to client care, claiming “the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money“.
He says that the culture has changed, and he no longer believes in the values of the company, and that he can no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place it was to work. He says it makes him “ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off“.
It’s about as bad as it gets for a company that leans on its 143-year history as a means to attracting clients, and although it’s only one person’s view; albeit a senior one, you can be sure Goldman Sachs’ PR team will be in the line of fire for the story ever getting this far without their knowing.
Thanks to Jason and M&C Saatchi’s Alex Wilkinson for Tweeting with this.
Have you seen any good or bad PR?
Contact PR Rich Leigh with it by Tweeting him @GoodandBadPR or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.
Good and Bad PR is a feature on the blog of 10 Yetis PR Agency.Rich also writes about PR stunts at PRexamples.com.