Premier Inn wins approval this week, but its frowns all round to Pirelli and Tesco
3rd July 2013
Good morning PR folks! It’s Shannon Haigh here, account manager at 10 Yetis, while our chief Andy Barr is off to talk at a conference in Amsterdam – trying to teach the Dutch how to grow tulips no doubt.
This week, the media spotlight has still been firmly focused on Wimbledon, but the imminent birth of the Royal baby has also been up there, along with the protests in Egypt. I’ve taken a look back at some of the good and bad PR highlights from the past seven days, so brace yourselves people. Here it goes ...
Good PR of the week
Mini hotel rooms
Bravo to Whitbread-owned Premier Inn, which has announced that it will be opening a new city-centre hotel. “Not another one!” I hear you cry, but this one is different. It’s a new concept focused on cheaper, smaller rooms in locations that are in demand.
The first “hub by Premier Inn” will open in summer 2014 in the West End of London, with four other London locations also planned. The design of the rooms is compact and contemporary, packing in a desk that folds into a bed (with luggage storage beneath), an en-suite bathroom, free Wi-Fi and a 40” smart screen TV into 11.4 sq metres. Cosy. Granted, the Wi-Fi doesn’t take up too much space.
These high-tech “hub” rooms will be around 30 per cent cheaper than Premier Inn rates and Whitbread wants to have 40 “hub by Premier Inn” hotels up and running by 2018; that’s 6,000 rooms! Ambitious plans, perhaps, but it’s great to see businesses flourishing in tough times.
Bad PR of the week
Poor track record
Most businesses can only dream of explosive PR results and campaigns that go out with a bang, but Pirelli, the official supplier of Formula 1 tyres, is suffering from nothing short of a PR nightmare this week for those very reasons. During the British Grand Prix, six drivers, including Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari, suffered dramatic tyre failures.
The high-speed blowouts prompted headlines such as “Terror Tyres” on the Daily Mail’s back page and “Road to hell as tyre chaos almost halts grand prix” from The Times, which is never ideal – especially for such a huge, global brand.
Almost half way through the F1 season, this is the first time that blowouts have been a major problem. Hamilton was leading the race at the time his car was affected and the drivers threatened to boycott this weekend’s race in Germany if something wasn’t done to sort the issue, fearing for their safety. I know what you’re all thinking ... “What a bunch of wimps!” However, Mr Jaw Line ’97 himself (AKA David Coulthard) labelled tyre failures as “driver killers“. So, I’d be pretty scared too.
Pirelli is investigating the failures and is said to be strengthening rear tyres ahead of this weekend’s race with Kevlar.
Colour me bad
Also worth a mention in this week’s examples of bad PR is the media machine Tesco, after the supermarket giant was forced to pull a 16-page colouring book from its shelves. Why? Well, because instead of fluffy bunnies and cute kittens, kids were being encouraged to colour in images of knives, blood and screaming victims, including scenes from Psycho, Fatal Attraction, Misery (you know, where she smashes his knees to pieces with a hammer?) and The Silence of the Lambs (which, coincidentally, has nothing much to do with lambs). The book was called “Colour Me Good – Arrggghhhh!!” Nothing screams “How to turn your child into a serial killer” much louder than that.
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