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Good and Bad PR: An Easter bunny for Pets at Home but treats are off at Cambridge Analytica

22nd March 2018


Good PR

Pets at Home has done something really noble in the run up to Easter and announced that it will be banning the sale of rabbits from Good Friday until Easter Monday.

Easter is a really popular time for parents to think it’s a great idea to get their kids a rabbit, due to the Easter Bunny connotations and their little ones practically begging them for a new pet, but this leads to a surge in rabbits getting dumped at shelters when the huge commitment is realised. I have two house rabbits and they require A LOT of care and attention; and whilst I don’t mind this at all, I can imagine it comes as a bit of a shock to some unsuspecting newbie rabbit owners.

The pet retailer is instead putting on free rabbit workshops over the Easter Bank Holiday, which it is encouraging people to attend. From 24 March until the 15 April, in conjunction with Sony Pictures for the new Peter Rabbit film that was released in cinemas recently, the workshops will be held in Pets at Home stores across the country for youngsters to learn all about caring for small furry animals like rabbits.

Although I think this may just encourage more kids to ask their parents for a rabbit, I also think it will educate a lot of people on responsible pet ownership and the commitment having a rabbit to take care of it.

The move to restrict rabbit sales for the Easter weekend has earned Pets at Home a lot of positive media coverage, with calls for the period to actually be extended a little further.

The Express, Metro, Mail Online, lots of regional press and plenty of other titles ran the story to spread the word about what Pets at Home has decided to do this Easter; and lots of other pet shops have followed suit.

Bad PR

Facebook is in the bad books this week, with many vowing to delete their accounts from the social network and never look back. This is all to do with a data breach that has come to light and users are, understandably, less than impressed.

You’ve probably connected to some kind of apps using your Facebook (if you have an account) at some point over the years; whether that’s one that lets you do a quiz and share your results with friends, one that shows you what you look like as an 80-year-old man or another kind of entertainment or service app plug-in.

Each time you connect to one of these apps, you are effectively giving it permission to record details about you. So, if you’re answering personal questions about yourself to discover what animal you’re most like or how long your relationship is probably going to last based on what you last ate, someone, somewhere, is recording that stuff.

So, Facebook has now been hit by some pretty serious allegations surrounding the mis-management of data that it collects from users. The social network reportedly sold data from 50 million of its users (I know, that’s a heck of a lot) to Cambridge Analytica.

A psychology researcher from Cambridge University named Aleksandr Kogan has said that both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are trying to place the blame on him and use him as a scapegoat, because he developed the app that helped the latter harvest the data. He claims he thought it was all relatively normal practice and nothing untoward was happening.

Cambridge Analytica sounds rather shady to me anyway; for example, it is caught up right now in a privacy row following accusations that the data from Facebook it had hold of was used by the Trump campaign to influence the election and even to boost the Brexit campaign here in the UK. The head of the firm was also suspended this week after hidden camera footage showed him suggesting that Cambridge Analytica could use young women to catch opposition politicians in, shall we say, “compromising” situations.  

People on social media are raging about their breach of privacy and Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are probably going to take a big hit for this. The coverage has been widespread, as a quick Google search about the goings-on will show you.

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 andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email



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