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GoodandBadPR: High-five to Hyundai, but no handshake for Halfords

16th April 2015


Good PR

Hyundai aims high

Stunts are always best when they’re big. Like, really huge. A story I read this week had all of the right ingredients to catch the media’s attention: something that could be seen from space, a heart-warming element and a pretty slick idea.

The South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai helped a 13-year-old girl send a message to her father on the International Space Station.

With the vast expanse of Nevada’s Delamar Dry Lake as a canvas and eleven Genesis Sedan vehicles as the, uh, pens, Hyundai had a team of stunt drivers to manoeuvre the cars just meters apart using sat-navs to write “Steph [hearts] you!” on the ground.

The enormous message was credited by Guinness as being the world’s largest tyre track image, measuring 59,808,480.26 square feet. Pretty impressive stuff.

Stephanie’s father confirmed that the message could be seen from space via a video link from the International Space Station, on which he showed his daughter the picture of the message he had taken on his camera.

Perhaps telling her dad she loved him on the video link would have been much less effort, but then we wouldn’t have this uber-cool stunt to talk about now, would we?

It actually took place on 18 January and was used to advertise the Hyundai Genesis, but it’s doing the rounds this week on the likes of Mashable, the Metro and other outlets.

Bad PR

Speed-freak Halfords

Automotive retailer Halfords has had the brand name splashed all over the press for all the wrong reasons this week, after one of its mechanics was caught speeding in a customer’s car after the vehicle had been booked in for an MOT.

Shaun Ingram took his Ford Focus ST in to his local Halfords Autocentre in Plymouth back in March for a major service and MOT. When he got the vehicle back, he found that the dashboard camera had recorded footage of the car being driven at 57 mph in a 30-mph zone.

After this, it’s understandable that the customer was not a happy bunny. He complained to the company and was offered a £255 refund for the MOT and service.

The dashboard camera hadn’t been installed in the vehicle to catch anybody out and was apparently in plain sight on the windscreen, so it’s all down to the negligence of the member of staff (who, conveniently, was apparently only a temporary employee and who has since been let go).

Mr Ingram said: “As a nationwide company I thought I had nothing to worry about. I feel very let down." As a brand, this is a less than ideal situation to be faced with. The actions of one careless employee will no doubt be a cause of concern for anyone thinking of leaving their car in the hands of a Halfords Autocentre, especially in that particular branch in Plymouth.

Shannon Haigh, 10 Yetis, @ShazzaYeti on Twitter

Seen any good or bad PR recently, you know what to do, @10Yetis on Twitter or [email protected] on email.



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