Good and Bad PR: Bad Brewdog, baddish Meta but good nurses

Hello there and welcome to Good and Bad PR of the week. Written by me, for you and delivered with a cheeky smile. Another week, another high-profile resignation and yes, I am referring to Sir Gavin Williamson. I know what you are thinking, how did he get a knighthood, who knows? Nice start for The Rishinator though, which is a nickname that someone senior in civil service communications tells me is starting to catch on (behind his back).

Let’s leave the continuing saga of The Conservative party versus good, bad and desperate PR behind though and look at what else has been going on.

Bad PR

BrewDog

The bastions of good taste and staff wellbeing, BrewDog, found itself in the spotlight again this week thanks to launching of a PR stunt billboard mocking FIFA for the world cup having recently been held in Russia and now in Qatar. The ads were the usual Brewdog style of being chippy and straight to the point and the media and muggles didn’t really know what to make of it.

On one hand, as many who got in touch with me about the campaign pointed out, it was a fantastically successful PR stunt because it got people and social platforms talking. As others pointed out though, it was a cynical PR stunt that had no real benefit other than helping the once upstart, and now mainstream-giant, brewery flog a few more pints.

The chain will still be showing the World Cup in its pubs (cynical move one) and just one day after its billboard went live, the media started to report that BrewDog had signed a deal with a Qatar-based company to sell its beers over there during the World Cup (cynical move two). A nice idea that could have been a PR Hit has instead become a massive flop and wins Bad PR of the week.

Good PR

Royal College of Nursing

The Royal College of Nursing (a union) took the difficult decision to take its hundreds of thousands of nurses into strike action, for the first time in its 106-year history. Anyone who has a loose knowledge of my own career (which could be a hugely successful Netflix show in its own right) will know of my own run-ins with the union bosses over the years, but even I can see why the RCN is doing this.

It turns out that nurses need more than us muggles clapping for them on a Thursday evening during a pandemic, they need actual money as well. So whilst the politicians claimed to be supportive of NHS workers, which they demonstrated by giving their mates shady PPE contracts that both wasted billions of pounds and ultimately delivered shoddy, not-for-purpose gear, they clearly draw the line at helping via giving them more money to get through the cost of living crisis. Quite the rant, I know.

My hope is that Mick of Lynching fame gets a secondment to the RCN so he can start shredding politicians on TV all over again. Good PR for the RCN!

Evil PR

Palmer Luckey

The next story is not so much Bad PR as pure and simple Evil PR. I had never heard of Palmer Luckey, the previous owner/inventor of the Zuckerberg plaything, Oculus VR until this week.

TLDR: he is a clearly a micro-chip short of a circuit board. After selling Oculus, trying to secretly fund pro-Trump online trolls and getting into various legal spats, he has now taken it one step further by claiming to have invented a VR headset that will kill you if you lose at the game you are playing.

Fear not, it is apparently still just work in progress and not (and hopefully never) going to be released to the public. Sometimes I wonder if the wealthy, great and good of the tech world are just playing one long game of “hold my pint” whilst they out “oddball” each other in the public eye. Up until Luckey’s turn this week, Elon was clearly at the top of the rich, crazy, potential Bond Villain entrepreneur leader board, but now it is all to play for.

Sort-of good PR

Meta

Sticking with the eccentric tech entrepreneur theme and Zuck this week had a go himself by announcing that he was unfriending 11,000 of his former work colleagues which equates to around 13% of the entire work force. Meta's shares have been on the slide for most of this year and the brand needed to do something big to arrest the decline and hey presto, the stock market always loves to see ruthless cost cutting.

The messaging may have been bad, but the result was good in PR terms. By that I mean that the key Meta messaging came across in nearly every article. The timing, right after Musk did a hatchet job on his own staff numbers, in his own unique way, was perfect and, by contrast, the way it was communicated to employees was far superiour. This does pave the way for other tech giants to announce job losses too, but few will do it as well as Meta has.

Got it right or wrong, you know where to find me!

Written by Andy Barr, owner of 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? Abuse and contradictory points welcomed over on The Twitter @10Yetis or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email

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