Children make fools of adults in an anti-smoking campaign, and NatWest makes a fool of itself

Good PR of the week
 

Kids shame adults
 

Somebody at (or for) the Thai Health Promotion Foundation came up with the idea to have kids ask for a lighter from adults smoking cigarettes and filmed the reactions. Not one of the many adults, we’re told, gave one to the youngsters, and in fact started moralising in the most predictable yet contradictory way possible. The children left the adults with a leaflet with quitting advice and a helpline number.

This campaign wouldn’t have cost much to put into motion, yet the video tells us the foundation saw a 40 per cent increase in phone inquiries by smokers who wanted to quit.

Self praise is self promotion
 

When I’m not being irritatingly judgemental from up here on my self-appointed pedestal, precariously balancing on a high horse, I also occasionally do some work at PR agency 10 Yetis.

A client of ours, wish.co.uk, is an experience-day website. You may have seen this zombie experience day in an abandoned shopping centre in Reading it offers, or this abandoned mansion experience in Warrington. If you have, chances are, that’s a result of our (well, mostly my colleague Shannon’s) hard work.

After every major press hit, we and wish.co.uk have been inundated by people asking how they can become a zombie from all over the world, with the likes of Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg, Jamie Oliver and Derren Brown helping this along by essentially doing our job for us, by both coming along and sharing their love for the days.

Given the interest, we’ve decided to recruit for zombies, launching an audition process that but for busybody legal interference, would have been called something that starts with “Z Fac” and ends with “tor”

The job itself is being hosted by monster.co.uk – have a look at the job ad here, penned by resident funny man Dale Shaw – asking would-be zombies to get their costumed carcasses down to Covent Garden’s Pineapple Dance Studios, with a paid role as a zombie in the Warrington mansion up for grabs.

 

Obviously, I would say it is good PR, but others have also done that for us, and with this justification, I think it serves as a mini case-study to show how you can connect with a community of potential customers to give them a unique opportunity.

Bad PR of the week
 

We’ve had one particularly brilliant example this week where a trembling Tory junior minister was placed before an axe-wielding Jeremy Paxman on the issue of the government’s fuel tax U-turn (watch it here), but a special mention must go to ...                                                                                                            

Bank fails
 

Earlier this week, a NatWest “computer glitch” caused millions of payments to disappear from people's bank accounts, with customers facing potential late payment charges and issues with credit rating through no fault of their own.

The bank, owned by RBS, has been roundly thumped in the media and across social networks, with Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, stating that there would be a “very detailed” investigation.

Although some of the subsequent messaging has been good, further forced by a second system cock-up, some media outlets have blamed the bank’s cost-cutting, despite the brouhaha earlier this year with chief exec Stephen Hester and his £1m bonus.

To hilariously compound matters, scores of Twitter users have been hassling 22-year-old teacher Natalie Westerman (@natwest), instead of the actual official account @natwest_help, demonstrating just how important it is to try to claim profiles.

 

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. Rich also writes about PR stunts at PRexamples.com.