Apple wins the award for best leak of the week

So, dear blog reader/s (waves at mum), we’ve had a little break.

I wish I could tell you that this break has left me feeling refreshed, but it hasn’t. I have a 13-week-old son my fiancée holds out like a sacrificial offering as soon as my foot touches the floor of my entrance hallway. This is after a hard day at the coalface – I say coalface, I mean at my laptop dipping in and out of Twitter while drinking more Diet Coke than pre-eminent scientists believe humanly possible. And what, I ask you, am I supposed to do with the “love” my fiancée claims my doting children pay me for doing this second job?

The 10 Yetis MDs have recently added twins to their attempt at forming a modern-day von Trapp troupe though, so perhaps my complaints of tiredness are comparatively trivial.

Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about my opinions:

Good PR of the week

Apple Cook up an email "leak”

So, fresh from being named the new Apple CEO, Tim Cook took time out of his busy schedule to reply to a random emailer with a succinct, yet profound and reassuring message, which has oh-so-accidentally found its way into the public domain and a multitude of tech and business news sites.

In short, a blogger emailed him, simply saying: "Don’t be Steve Jobs, be Tim Cook", to which, three hours later, Cook responded with: "Don't worry. It's the only person I know how to be."

Apple – and Cook – will know that further to the positive press Steve Jobs has had for engaging with seemingly unimportant emailers, something as simple as a one-line response can generate favourable, "he’s a real person, just like you and me" coverage.

Another email also featured on Gizmodo this week:

War Cry Forever indeed. Stage one of operation “Do what Jobs did but better” (Jobs was famous for his curt but usually kind "thanks" customer relations) appears to have been a success.

Bad PR of the week

Groupon PRO leaves, CEO breaks IPO rules

If you work within technology, or are a consumer that shops online, or if you don’t drag your knuckles behind you as you walk, you’ve heard of Groupon, so I’ll save you the tediousness of a dictionary definition.

In the last week, the VP of global communications Bradford Williams has left the discount company, after just two months. He declined to comment other than suggesting "we mutually decided it wasn’t a fit."

To put this in perspective, Groupon is currently in the "quiet period" insisted upon by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when a company announces its intention to go public with an IPO (initial public offering). The idea of the quiet period is that it prevents companies from communicating news that would influence investors into buying their stocks – an odd rule, in my opinion, as anybody buying shares in a company should do so based on the company itself and not just because the company says "buy into us, we’re great, honest".

According to a source, Williams left due to the way the company has responded to critics during the quiet period – this article on Business Insider talks more about the criticism levied at the company it has had to avoid replying to publicly.

And the bad PR aspect of all of this?

As soon as Williams was gone, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason sent around an all-staff email – that’s right folks, this is a Good Leak/Bad Leak post – essentially addressing the main criticisms.

The email, all 2,481 words of it (read it here) was then (shock-horror) leaked, potentially contravening the SEC quiet-period rule.

So, it seems that Mason wanted to respond in this way all along, and hope that the fact the email was intended to be internal yet became public wouldn’t come back to bite him, whereas Bradford Williams, the PR guy, didn’t like the idea – and rightly so. The SEC will have to act – if it doesn’t, it risks other companies doing the same – but how it reacts will be interesting.

I don’t know the punishment for breaking the quiet-period rule. But you can bet your agency foosball table that Williams didn’t like Mason’s plans and is sitting somewhere with a big "I told you so" grin on his face.

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.

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.

PRmoment Awards Shortlist ESG Awards Winners SUBSCRIBE NOW PRCA Creative Moment