The Good, the Bad and Mili-bland of Public Relations
26th September 2013
Another week, another political round of posturing, this time it was the turn of the Labour Party at its annual conference, but more of that later on.
Good PR of the week
Backing gay footballers
On the good PR front, the hat is tipped firmly towards Paddy Power and Stonewall, the sexual equality charity, for their rainbow laces football campaign. Footballers at professional clubs were sent the laces and asked to wear them on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September as part of the “Right Behind Gay Footballers” campaign.
There is some confusion within the industry as to whether or not Paddy Power was taking the piss or not, but for me, I think it was genuine, but firmly tongue-in-cheek. The campaign, with its “Right Behind Gay Footballers” strapline was clearly humorous, but helped convey the serious message. Dare I say it, but is this the first time Paddy Power has genuinely used its brand strength for actual good?
The message stuck and even got a further boost because many Premier League clubs refused to wear the rainbow laces and gave a long list of elaborate reasons as to why, but probably because they were not sure if the campaign was a piss take.
Moving on to another good PR story that will make you go “meh”, but deserves massive praise for its success; Tesco and its launch of the Hudl.
Hudl is a tablet computer and it launched with a price of just £119. It got blanket coverage, I mean, absolute blanket coverage. If you compare this to the time where WHSmith launched that Kobo book reading thing to try and rival the Kindle, you can see how Tesco absolutely stormed it.
Bad PR of the week
There is a story breaking, at the time of writing, about a Commercial Lawyer called Mark Leiser who was threatened with not being allowed on an Easyjet flight because he had just tweeted something negative about the brand.
Now, with the story still breaking I am not sure of all the facts, but essentially Leiser tweeted about a soldier who allegedly missed a connecting flight because of a delay with an Easyjet flight and the company refused to help the squaddie get to his destination.
Leiser then tried to board his flight and was confronted by an Easyjet manager who threatened not to let him get on board after posting a negative tweet.
I am not sure where the story will go, although I can imagine that if this is a new policy by Easyjet, its planes are going to be a bit empty given the amount of criticism it gets on Twitter.
Labouring some points
Finally, onto the Labour Party Conference. Hands up anyone who thought any of its messages stuck?
The main soundbite that came from the un-coolest conference since the Actuary Annual Ball and Dinner, was about energy prices being frozen should Labour get into power. Now, having worked in the utility industry I know that this will have a few of the energy companies scratching their heads and reaching for the number of their favourite solicitors, Bastard and Slaughter.
I also know that the energy company replies have grounds, ie, if the government plans to fix prices arbitrarily then why should the energy firms invest in the utility networks when there is no incentive to do so?
It’s another half-baked plan from a desperate Miliband looking to score points with populist policies.
Oh yeah, and who saw that Damian McBride interview where Iain Dail took on the poor grammar dog and some form of protester. Comedy gold. Go grab some popcorn and watch this: