Good & Bad PR: British Gas show how it’s done, unlike Kellogg’s… and there’s more about Uranus

You are most likely reading this on the morning after the mighty PRmoment Awards (on Thursday night) so I hope that these words help soothe away any heavy heads from drinking or heavy hearts from not winning. Obviously, you are all winners in my book, just some are a little bit more “winnery” than others.

Let’s get about handing out the Good and Bad PR gongs from this week’s media mentions.

Good PR

British Gas

Starting on a high, let’s all salute energy flogging giant British Gas for a massive win this week. Its report on “vampire devices” (electronic items we leave plugged in and on all the time) got some massive pick up, starting with a big front-page splash on the BBC News website.

Turning off all these Vampire Devices (love the name btw) could save you up to £147 per year from your electricity bills. TVs and set top boxes were the most expensive culprits at over £20.00 per year, followed up by microwaves, games consoles and computers. It really is a great story and, as I always go on about, it works because it is so simple to understand. British Gas you are more than worthy winners.

Bad PR

Kellogg’s

Dishing out the first Bad PR of the week and it must go to Kellogg’s. To be fair, it has not really done much wrong, yet, but its quest to challenge the UK Government’s ban on being able to prominently place its sugary breakfast cereals in supermarkets is a slippery slope in the court of public opinion.

Kellogg’s stance and positioning stacks up, but it will take just one false move to turn this into a landslide of crisis communications headaches. In my humble opinion, its product brand strength is such that it would easily survive the restrictions being suggested by the UK Government and having worked for Unilever during the ice-cream wars, I feel I am experienced enough to spot when a legal move has come from a point of principle, rather than making any real commercial sense. One to watch.

More Good PR

INEOS Grenadier

Back to Good PR and the team at INEOS Grenadier got a bucketful of nice coverage with the announcement that its (let’s be honest) knock-off Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Defender is going to be on sale by the summer of 2022. For those unfamiliar with the story, here is the potted history.

JLR canned off the iconic Defender vehicle in favour of a modern, very sexy, new design. The old Defender survived torrid tasks such as being dropped out of planes during wars and being sat on by fat tweed-clad bottoms in the UK countryside. The new design, in stark contrast, looks amazing, but many doubt it could survive being dropped out of a plane, you get the gist, it has lost its ruggedness.

Step forward INEOS Grenadier which announced it was planning to tap into those wanting a “more rugged looking 4x4” (because it could not write, “Defender knockoff”) and it set about designing it. JLR, absolutely and quite rightly, were not happy, but it quickly realised it had not actually trademarked the shape of the old Defender and the trademark office politely pointed it to the exit door when it was retrospectively requested.

Fast forward through that saga and despite all the drama, The Grenadier is going to be hitting the market very soon and we all know that the media loves a plucky upstart story (we will ignore the fact that the backer is a billionaire, and no, not that Twittering one). Good luck Grenadier!

SMMT

Sticking on the car theme, let’s give a Mini Good PR to the SMMT lot again (Google it, it’s too long to keep typing). Fresh from its Good PR a few weeks ago around electric car sales, the car logging squad realised that electric vehicles are a gold mine of good PR opportunities, so it launched another one this week. The number of miles that electric cars can now cover since they were first on the scene in 2011 has massively increased.

A load of coverage came from this announcement. There we go, let’s move on.

More Bad PR

Humankind

If electric cars first landed on Earth in 2011, our next Bad PR, the origins of human DNA, came a little before this, roughly around a billion years ago, according to some science folk in Japan.

Turns out that us humans are not actually of this planet. Shock horror, we are all aliens. The is according to scientists from Team Japan who wrote a recent academic paper on the four key traces of our DNA being found in meteorites that crash, bang and walloped into the planet a long time ago.

This means that the book, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, could well be true. I also suspect Uranus has a lot of explaining to do as well (two Uranus jokes in two weeks probably tells you my level). Great PR for the science community, bad PR for us planet-robbing humans.

End note

I am going to end it there this week, although I am keen to point out that I have had multiple people message me to crow about a Network Rail comms fail. I am not giving this Bad PR because, it is actually one of our own. By that I mean it is an individual working in comms who is getting the grief and we are better than putting the boot into our own people.

When I usually give out Bad PRs, it is usually about a poor company decision rather than an individual and, especially in this case, where their words were deliberately manipulated to fit a trade union agenda, I was not having that!

Got it right or wrong this week? You know what to do


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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