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GoodandBadPR: Heads up for Slimbridge swan stunt and Dyson hairdryers

27th April 2016


Good PR

Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is a place I frequented as a kid, which probably goes some way towards explaining why our head Yeti Andy sometimes compares me to the legend that is Bill Oddie; such is my knowledge of all things winged.

So, I was chuffed this week to see that Slimbridge made headlines thanks to a story that's really quite cool. A conservationist named Sacha Dench who works at Slimbridge has announced her plans to fly alongside thousands on Bewick's swans as they make the 4,500 mile migration journey from the Russian arctic, where they breed, to the UK to avoid the harsh Siberian winter.

Sacha, a former free diving champion and a relative of Judy Dench, noted that fewer swans were successfully completing the journey in the last two decades, meaning the Bewick's swan numbers have halved in a decade. Nobody really knows why, so she's making it her mission to find out. I know what you're thinking; how will she complete the journey without sprouting a pair of her own feathery wings? I'm glad you asked. She plans to fly using a paramotor, which for those of you who aren't in-the-know about all things airborne is basically like paragliding, but with a propeller strapped to your back.

She'll be able to get close to the swans and each night she'll land to observe the hazards the swans face and their habits.

The legend that is Sir David Attenborough described the Flight of the Swans expedition as "marvellously imaginative and adventurous". If he said that about something I was doing, I think I'd die happy. This has had brilliant media coverage such as the BBC and ITV and it's bound to get a few people off their sofas and out to explore Slimbridge.

Next up, Dyson. The innovative company famed for its vacuum cleaners and household gadgets has entered the personal-care sector with the launch of a super-duper hairdryer. The price tag of £299 is pretty shocking when you consider that you can pick up a perfectly good hairdryer at your local supermarket for about £20, but what you thought was “perfectly good” will probably totally change after you see Mr. Dyson's new toy.

It's quieter and less damaging that other hairdryers and packs a punch thanks to the V9 that powers it (the smallest and most advanced digital motor which is eight times faster than those in old dryers and half the weight). I have long hair and the arm muscles I've acquired aren't from the gym, but rather from having to hold my hefty hair dryer above my head every other day whilst it singes by tresses dry. So, I think I would happily fork out just shy of £300 for a Dyson hair dryer. It'd be an investment, after all.

Dyson has spent around 50 million quid over a period of four years on the development of the dryer and has been investigating the "science of hair". The product was tested on 1,010 miles of human hair by more than 100 engineers and a total of 600 prototypes were created. This hairdryer means business. The heated air flow on the Dyson hairdryer will not exceed 150 degrees, whereas most others hit a sweltering 230 degrees. The coverage for the launch of the product has been pretty incredible.

Bad PR

After a brief spell of positive PR surrounding a “quiet hour” that would be launched in a Manchester store to help autistic and disabled shoppers, Asda has now been blasted in the press following an investigation by a competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it has forced the supermarket chain to end rip-off deals across its stores in a report looking into pricing practices in the biggest grocery stores here in the UK.

Asda has been publicly shamed as part of this clampdown, which aims to finally rid our supermarkets  of misleading "multi-buy" deals... you know, the sort where one pack of cookies is £2 but you can get two for £5. I've fallen victim to those deals a few times and it's probably not the first time my love of biscuits has got me into trouble.

This report was launched after consumer group Which? launched a "super complaint" about confusing prices in 2015.

Sainsbury's announced that it would be the first supermarket to completely get rid of multi-buy deals in stores this summer and Tesco and Morrison's said they've begun phasing them out. Asda hasn't come out looking quite as rosy though and the coverage has probably been a bit hard for the supermarket chain to swallow. 

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis, @ShazzaYeti on Twitter

Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or [email protected] on email.



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