Good day to all of you public relations fans out there. I am frightfully busy and obviously hugely important and as such, writing this at an airport on my way to a PR event. Get me!
Come on though, stop your dilly dallying and come with me as we fly through this week’s Good and Bad PR.
Shrinkflation gets the nod this week and this is a bit of a personal one, well, on behalf of my cats, George and Michael (twin cats I will have you know). Although brands like Cadbury and Jacob’s have been hitting the headlines this week for shrinking the size of their products yet charging the same price (like Buttons and Mini Cheddars respectively) I have been carrying out my own scientific research into Whiskas. No, I am not eating it (yet).
George and Michael were delighted when I arrived home with a box of 80 pouches of their favourite food, Whiskas, from a famous UK supermarket. Previously, I had bought boxes of 40 pouches but this new box of 80 represented a 50p saving when compared to buying 2 x 40 pouch boxes.
Imagine my surprise when George and Michael flagged, via aggressive scratching of my leg, that the new pouches were 15g smaller than the ones in the 40 boxes. Like for like, I was paying 50p less for 15% less food. Whiskas has done all of us cat owners there. Back to own brand food for George and Michael and shame on you Whiskas! Thanks to me good mate Alan for the tip off on Cadbury.
Another week and another big tech lay off that triggers a Bad PR moment. Amazon this time, as it takes its total staff cuts for the last 12 months to 27,000 with another 9,000 now being announced this week - 400 of the cuts will come from Twitch, another tech brand owned by Amazon that seemed to peak during COVID times and now dropped back in popularity.
Whilst brands like Amazon talk about a declining economic climate it is worth noting that these companies are still hugely profitable, just not profitable enough to keep the bankers that I praise later in this column, happy. They always want more.
This time, it was mainly the cloud computing and advertising departments that would be taking the hit, which again, is a startling announcement given the likes of AWS are the most profitable parts of the entire Amazon operation.
Global banking system
Global banking system gets the first Good PR of this week. After my giving HM Treasury, HSBC, Rishi and the Bank of England Good PR last week for sorting out the UK side of the SVB crash in just a few days, the global banking system handled an even bigger risk in similarly quick time.
Credit Suisse started teetering at the end of last week, you may have even seen ya boi on Good Morning Britain talking about the crisis communications risk of it going pop on Thursday. The Swiss government stepped in and said it would prop up the bank. It didn’t allay people’s fears. UBS then announced it had bought Credit Suisse. It again didn’t allay people’s fears and global stock markets started to plummet when they reopened on Monday morning.
In steps the US Treasury, The UK Treasury, the European Central bank and pretty much anyone who is big in the financial world to try and calm the markets and make reassuring noises. By Tuesday afternoon the markets had all calmed and everyone returned to their normal banker bashing.
Dare I say it though, the bankers and bean-counters did good in this situation though. They have all learned so much since the 2007/08 banking system near collapse and the communications were all decisive and effective. Who would have thought it?
The next Good PR goes to Chinese mobile phone brand Oppo. Being a challenger brand in a competitive market that is dominated by two brands is always going to be a tough nut to crack. Oppo though, has just launched its newest device, the Find X6 and the reviews from the often-spikey tech press are unanimously positive.
Given the money that Oppo is spending on things like Champions League TV advertising, you can see that it is going all in on getting a foothold in the mobile phone market and these kinds of positive reviews and great PR can only help.
Sticking with Good PR and everyone’s favourite South-London-based football club, Crystal Palace, did wonders for Jeremy Hunt’s plan to get the semi-retired back to work by giving 75-year-old football manager, Woy Hodgson, what feels like his 150th job in football.
Roy Hodgson has been appointed Crystal Palace manager until the end of the season.— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) March 21, 2023
Paddy McCarthy will take the role as his assistant manager, and Ray Lewington returns as first-team coach.
Dean Kiely remains in his position as goalkeeping coach.
Welcome back, Roy.#CPFC
Roy is a legend in the game, apart from with my favourite team, The Liverpool Reds, and he deserves all the plaudits that he is getting for returning. The media support also shows the bank of credibility he has built with a notoriously rowdy bunch in journo land and we all wish him well, apart from fans of the teams he now faces during the last 12 weeks of the season.
Whilst Rhyl got Bad PR for being listed as the worst place to live in the UK for the second year running (having lived very near there, I would agree) Derby gets Good PR for being selected as the home for the government’s new Great British Railways HQ. Beating Doncaster, York, Birmingham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne to be the location for the new public body that is responsible for all things rail, is a major coup for the East Midlands town.
📢It's official...— Mark Harper (@Mark_J_Harper) March 21, 2023
🚆I'm pleased to announce Derby as the HQ of Great British Railways 🇬🇧
👏A huge thank you to all the locations who took part - this isn't just a win for Derby, but for the entire rail industry
👉 https://t.co/UPCFiqFJx8 pic.twitter.com/S36ahr7Jjk
This is going to provide hundreds, if not thousands of jobs for the city which is obviously brilliant news, but what really caught my eye is that the leader of the city’s Labour Party group is called “Baggy Shanker”, what a spectacular name. He should be working for HM Treasury with that name.
Tribute to Francis
I want to end this column with an important Good PR nod to communications industry heavyweight Francis Ingham from the PRCA who sadly passed away this week. It is no secret that he and I did not see eye to eye on many aspects of our industry, but I would be an absolute idiot not to acknowledge the vital and monumental role that he played in driving standards in our industry forward. Well played sir, well played.
Written by Andy Barr, owner of 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? Abuse and contradictory points welcomed over on The Twitter @10Yetis or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email
If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our twice weekly event and subscriber alerts.
Currently, every new subscriber will receive three of our favourite reports about the public relations sector.