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Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum celebrate a masterpiece with some theatrical PR

12th April 2013

Good PR of the week

Celebrating Rembrandt

When I was at school, I went on rugby tour to Den Haag in the Netherlands, an hour or so away from Amsterdam. It would be fair to say it was one of the most misguided destination choices ever made in the history of taking a group of 16 year olds abroad .

While I’m not about to digitally enshrine the goings-on of the “tour” (we played a couple of games against obscenely massive kids who clearly only played rugby because of their defective pituitary glands; struggling to co-ordinate their massive hands with their massive eyes as a result of said defection, demonstrating the sporting prowess of a pissed-up 4 year old), I was surprised by how much it felt like I’d stepped back into the past. Everything felt antiquated and everybody looked like they were wearing fashion last seen a couple of decades ago elsewhere. But it did have charm.

That outdated charm has been seen in PR this week, with a theatrical flash mob highlighting the reopening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – the National Museum. It’s nice to see a popular stunt outside of the UK/US if I’m honest.

After ten years of refurbishment, all the major pieces in the museum’s collection are back where they belong. The flash mob, as you can see below, recreated Rembrandt’s Night Watch, famously housed in the museum.

Thanks to sponsorship from ING, the National Museum will be free to visit this Saturday. If you’re interested in a more detailed look at the refurbishment and why the project took so long, this Guardian piece explains all.

Golf cart lifts off

To highlight its sponsorship of 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson, sunglasses brand Oakley teamed up with US agency Thinkmodo to create a video based around a hovercraft golf cart:

With more than seven million views in a week, the stunt – designed to promote the sponsorship in the build-up to this weekend’s US masters – was no doubt unfeasibly expensive, but importantly, according to Thinkmodo’s creative director Michael Krivicka, web traffic of Oakley’s main site is up 40 per cent and “sales have spiked”, so it may have started seeing some of that money back already.

Bad PR of the week

Oddbins expresses regret

The only things certain in life are death, taxes and ridiculous brand attempts to make funnies at inappropriate times.

Wine and alcohol chain Oddbins’ social media is all over the place. It appears to be a brand unsure whether to have a centralised account on each platform or a number of barely followed accounts to cater for its regional offerings, something a number of companies seem to struggle with.

If that seems irrelevant, it shouldn’t, because what it means is a number of potentially untrained people manning the accounts versus one central point managing outgoing communications.

On Monday, the day Margaret Thatcher died, Oddbins Crouch End tweeted the following and then quickly deleted it:


As we should all know, once tweeted, never forgotten. The tweet did the rounds on Twitter and Facebook, prompting the following statement.

"The tweet in question was made by a member of branch staff without the approval or knowledge of the company's management. The tweet was completely inappropriate and in the worst possible taste. We would like to apologise profusely for the offence it has quite rightly caused. The member of staff responsible has been suspended with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing."

A threatened boycott of miniscule proportions ensued, with a hundred and something people commenting on the statement to invariably complain, moan about the company bowing down to Daily Mail pressure and ask for the manager and man behind the tweet, Dave Groves, to be reinstated.

If this comment is to be believed, Groves has indeed been reinstated following his suspension and thus, a perfect circle of calm > ephemeral social media rage > calm again has been completed. Order is restored and all but the saddest of PR sad acts (me) will remember this.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – to all of you reading this – if there’s a natural disaster or celebrity death, shut your corporate pie-hole and ignore it. There’s nothing to gain from trying to be funny.

Have you seen any good or bad PR?

Contact Rich Leigh with it by tweeting him @GoodandBadPR or by emailing 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.

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