Aardman and Asda get top marks this week, while Boyle and Play.com score a bottom

Good PR of the week

Aardman antics

Being from the South West as I am, I have a special affinity for Bristol-based Aardman Animations and particularly, Wallace and Gromit.

You London-types can stick your capital status and cocaine-coated city-slicker lifestyle; we have a plasticine-crafted Christopher Maloney lookalike and his faithful pet, Gromit to feel proud of.

Aardman has announced that, from next summer, an army of five-foot tall Gromit statues will grace the streets of Bristol, all to raise money for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, aiming to raise funds for Bristol’s Children’s Hospital through sponsorship and a charity auction afterwards.

Artists will be sent one of sixty Gromit models to paint in whatever style they want, after which, the statues will be put on display throughout the city.

Thanks to JML’s Jonathon O’Connor for letting me know about this!

Chow Mein become Jahmene

Last week I wrote about Nando’s and how its cheap and cheerful product-led approach to celebrity endorsement paid off.

This week, I saw another simple effort, this time from supermarket chain Asda.

It likely started as a simple pun in the mind of a marketing employee, somewhere. I wonder if he or she did a gimpy laugh before and after telling other people the idea, too.

In support of former employee and current X-Factor contestant Jahmene Douglas, Asda renamed its own-brand Chicken Chow Mein to “Chicken Jahmene“, just for the weekend. Although I’m not sure why the chain decided to restrict it in such a way, the stunt was inspired.


From the Chicken Jahmene product page:

From Friday 16th – Sunday 18th November – we’ve renamed one of our favourite take-away ready meals Chicken Chow Mein to “Chicken Jahmene” in support of our colleague taking part in this year’s X Factor competition. 23p from every one sold will go to Women’s Aid.

By renaming the product and donating to Women’s Aid – a charitable nod to the recent media coverage of his tumultuous upbringing – Asda both created something worthy of sharing and buying. As I’ve said in this column a few times, it’s when marketers forget that there’s an actual product or service to sell that clients and bosses start getting narked. Achieve coverage WHILE shifting stock and you’re onto a winner.

Bad PR of the week

Boyle bottoms out

There’s little to say about this other than the fact that, after her performance on Children in Need, Susan Boyle’s new album party has become something of a bit of fun on Twitter.

You see, the hashtag #susanalbumparty, highlighting a new album only the institutionalised would appreciate under their tree, happens to imply a party of an entirely different, sodomitic variety than the one I imagine the social media team had planned.

For a short period of time this week, the whole of Twitter laughed at the idea of Susan Boyle’s bottom.

Play.com stalls

Play.com took a bit of a battering this week after cancelling orders from thousands of shoppers who used a discount code glitch that gave them a free £15 to spend.

The deal was posted on HotUKDeals, which led to thousands of shoppers placing free orders on items such as DVDs and CDs.

Customers who took advantage of the computer system fault received confirmation emails, but the online retailer has now emailed customers to say it won’t honour orders made using the code. According to the Mail – always a fun way to start a sentence - the discount code price glitch caused Play.com to crash as people tried to take advantage of the code.

The issue has been put down to an error in the site’s payment system, which meant the £15 code was valid with no minimum spend.

Now, I’m (fairly) confident this was an oversight on Play’s part – not many brands want negative coverage in this, an important time before Christmas – there are businesses that’d just be happy to see the influx of traffic and inbound links. It’d be interesting to see traffic and revenue stats for the day it happened – and, without wanting to sound too geeky, seeing if those same IP addresses crop up again in the build-up to Christmas. 

Have you seen any good or bad PR?

Contact PR Rich Leigh with it by tweeting him @GoodandBadPR or by emailing rich@10yetis.co.uk 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.