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GoodandBadPR: Vaz slips up

7th September 2016


Hello there Good and Bad PR fans, Andy back in the hot seat, ready to unleash my assessment of what have been the hits and misses in the world of public relations and general media gubbins.

On to it then…

Bad PR

Keith Vaz of “shamed politician” fame hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For those who have been avoiding the news, the member for Leicester North East tried to inspect the members of two male prostitutes of London. A classic media sting ensued and Vaz was lucky that a picture of his one-eared-space-hopper never made it onto the front pages.

What people do in their private life, and especially in the privacy of their own dodgily acquired home, is entirely up to them, but how they handle their very public crisis becomes media-land’s territory. Needless to say, Vaz has handled this terribly. As is the wont of what appears to be the vast majority of politicians, there seems to have been a certain arrogance that he could maybe ride this storm out (so to speak), and I guess this is what contributed to the delayed reaction on his part.

His team should have advised him to resign immediately and also to very much avoid the farcical forced pictures of him venturing out of the house with his wife, to try and assure the world that all was okay, too soon. An exclusive with a rival paper to set the record straight could have been another good move, but generally, he and his team of advisers (not the sex-workers, the PR types – although the difference may be marginal to some), were too slow to respond.

Onwards… On Wednesday the Institute of Directors, IoD to you and me, issued a league table of the best and worst FTSE 100 companies for corporate governance. Alongside the report was a damning comment about the state of big British businesses in terms of consumers having a lack of trust in them because of various recent scandals.

I read the report with song of Land of Hope and Glory as the soundtrack in my mind, only for the music to immediately stop when I read that the number one company for corporate governance in the UK, as decided by a research company paid for by the IoD, was British American Tobacco. Yes, you read that right, a company that knowingly, and very consistently, kills their consumers with its products, has come out number one in a league table of the best-run companies in the UK. Shudder. PS, smoking is not cool kids!

Good PR

On to something far more positive, although I guess its products could also be classed as a killer (I jest); Durex. The brand of choice for many who choose to bump-uglies, has this week released an aubergine-flavoured condom. Yuk, yuk and more yuk, but in the PR land of gimmicks and emoji’s, this has been a runaway hit with the media. Blanket coverage ensued including, but not limited to, Fortune, The Next Web, New York Post and even Chinchilla News (Google it).

This is the kind of PR story that every in-house and agency-side worker drone dreams of. Simple, cheap to execute and resulting in the kinds of coverage that gives you a slight swagger when walking into the next pay-review meeting. Hats off (pardon the pun) to Durex.

Speaking of controlling a potential early release, a sidewise nod of admiration needs to be given to Apple for how it has controlled the pending iPhone7 announcement and also Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) for its handling of the release of its new Discovery 5 model. Both brands have put enough out there to stop the conspiracy theorists dreaming up bat-shit-crazy ideas of what new features the new products may have, but not too much so the thunder is stolen at the actual launch events. This is the hardest thing to do in PR land and Apple and JLR have achieved this like the consummate professionals that they are.

Want to berate or celebrate this fine piece of writing, I am available on Twitter, 24/7 @10Yetis.

I love you all, Andy Barr.

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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