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Sandals Resorts kicks butt this week, but BlackBerry’s European MD doesn’t cover himself in glory

31st January 2013

Good PR of the week

Sun, sea and Sandals

Katie Price – of ... boob fame – has been offered a full refund by Sandals Resorts after publicly complaining about her (most) recent wedding to The Sun.

In doing so, Sandals has pulled a PR blinder by asking that she does not choose its resorts for “any future weddings or stays".

The resort’s staff were apparently “oblivious" of her fame in the UK, according to a brilliant statement released in defence of them. It’s peppered with beautifully caustic jabs and perfectly measured PR, given the general lack of love in the media for the three-time married 34-year-old/laughing stock. You can probably tell I’m a fan.

Here’s Sandals’ full (and brilliant) statement:

“Sandals Resorts are surprised by the allegations made by Ms Price. Without an international profile, the resort team were oblivious of Ms Price’s fame and welcomed her with the award-winning service given to all its guests.

“Once at the resort Ms Price did identify herself to her dedicated wedding manager and explained her profile in the UK.

“The team were thoroughly understanding and accommodating of Ms Price’s request for privacy, offering use of the resort’s private offshore island, Sandals Cay, for her wedding ceremony and the duration of her stay.

“However, Ms Price declined this offer, and against the Sandals team’s advice opted instead to hold the ceremony on the public beach where she was photographed by paparazzi.

“As with all Butler Suite guests, Ms Price was assigned a dedicated butler who are all trained by the “Guild of Professional English Butlers”.

“Part of this service includes serving gourmet meals from a choice of ten on property restaurants in suite at no additional cost. The resort also offers private candle lit dining in a variety of discreet locations for all its guests.

“Her dedicated butler, who is used to dealing with VIP’s denies making any derogatory remarks.

"Sandals Resorts is disappointed that Ms Price was not happy with her stay and as a gesture of goodwill are willing to offer her a refund on condition that she does not choose our resorts for any future weddings or stays.

“Sandals has been welcoming guests through its doors for over three decades and prides itself on excellent service, award winning product and has one of the highest returning guest rates in the industry.

“Sandals has been awarded some of the industry’s top accolades and awards including the ‘World’s Leading All-Inclusive’ at the World Travel Awards and ‘Top All Inclusive Brand for Honeymooners’ by Brides Magazines.”

IF Campaign tackles hunger

A special mention should also be made to the IF campaign and the various PR agencies and communications teams behind it, with 100 charities coming together to tackle world hunger.

Almost a billion people go hungry every day, a figure highlighted by the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, launched this week at Somerset House in Central London.

The charities and organisation involved include Unicef, Save the Children and Oxfam, making it, according to this Mirror piece, “the largest coalition of the aid world since Make Poverty History in 2005“.

Bill Gates and Desmond Tutu spoke, with Tutu saying “Hunger is not an incurable disease or an unavoidable tragedy. We can make sure no child goes to bed hungry. We can stop mothers from starving themselves to feed their families. We can save lives.”

More information about the campaign can be found at

Bad PR of the week

BlackBerry crumbles

Somewhat saved by the well-received launch event for the Z10 and Q10 handsets and the BlackBerry 10 operating system, the company formerly known as RIM had a shocker of a start to what should have been a game-changing day, with European MD Stephen Bates doing his level best to piss off each journalist he came into contact with.

On BBC Breakfast and on 5 Live Breakfast radio, Bates essentially ignored all questions from the presenters, instead “replying” with stock buzzword phrases. You could practically see him recalling the three or four key facts he’d no doubt been told to remember and while this is a valid and useful interview tactic when speaking to the media, ignoring questions and avoiding eye contact almost entirely with no attempt to bridge, made him look rude and desperate.

BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern later tweeted Danny Baker to thank him for tweeting about the disastrous interview, stating she felt she was ‘in a different interview to him’.

When asked (six successive times) what RIM had learnt from the iPhone, Bates resorted to press release-esque sound bites, again entirely ignoring the question.

As I say, BlackBerry redeemed itself a tad later in the day, but this was a particularly cringe-worthy affair. 

Have you seen any good or bad PR?

Contact PR 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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