Good and Bad PR Barr, reporting in for duty. At a time where it feels, well, to me at least, that the UK is being held together with sticky tape (supply chain issues, petrol price increases, a rise in Covid numbers and a growing air of violence aimed at the climate protestors) we need something positive and upbeat… Sorry, but I am not the man to bring you this having had a gander through this week’s news.
Facebook needs a Bad PR column all of its own this week having endured what PR people commonly call, “A Shitstorm”. The peak of the bad news came in the form of a £50.5m fine from the Competition and Markets Authority over Facebook breaching an enforcement order that was slapped down over its purchase of Giphy.
This was the first time such a fine has been given out and it all relates to the fact the companies were told to carry on acting as separate entities until the CMA investigation was completed, but they didn’t. To add to the general feeling that there is chaos behind the scenes at Facebook, a separate fine of £500,000 was given to the anti-social network for not telling the CMA that it was changing its compliance officer, twice.
Things are no better for Facebook over in its home country where the company has agreed to pay a fine to the Justice Department for shady employment practices that looks set to cost around $15m. The main man Zuck has also now been added to a class action case in relation to the fall-out from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has the potential to cost him big dollars personally too.
As crisis communications experts around the world will tell you, sometimes it reaches the point where you have run out of the type of glitter you need to cover a massive turd and the only option is a rebrand. As if by magic, rumours started circulating this week that Facebook could, on Monday announce a rebrand of sorts, even if it is just the launch of a parent company, in the style of Alphabet and Google. Any ideas? Facey McFaceybook is my hot tip. A very bad week indeed for Facebook.
Aeroplanes have had a tough week as well. Whilst Zuck may feel that the metaphorical shit is falling from upon high, it turns out that the physical shit was actually falling on a poor unsuspecting Windsor resident courtesy of an aeroplane dumping its toilet contents mid-air. The airline has not been named, the airport has not been named but the headlines have been written (by the BBC no less) and the Civil Aviation Authority are now investigating.
As part of the story it has emerged that some aeroplanes’ toilet contents’ storage systems can be a bit leaky and this is creating havoc across the Home Counties, although it is great for the roses in the spring time.
Tesco gets the nod for Good PR this week thanks to the headlines for its newly launched Get Go, checkout-less, store in London. Fresh on the back of the likes of Morrisons and Amazon launching their till-less stores, Tesco has had a go and despite a spiky piece in The Times, the retail giant has generally had a warm reception across the media.
There was the usual “we will see how it goes” kind of statement from Tesco, but given its considerable presence on the UK retail landscape, this could well be an industry game-changer that it can take credit for, in terms of its adoption and, hopefully, national roll out.
Adele (kind of)
Going back to the very start of this column, with the exception of Tesco, there has been very little in terms of Good PR this week across the UK. Adele gets huge kudos for her new release, but that was somewhat tarnished by the doom and gloom around the inspiration for the song.
Hit me up with your Good PR will you, it’s all a bit miserable isn’t it?
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
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