Good and Bad PR: Facebook loses face whilst Amazon gets a 4-star rating

Hello there PR fans. As the UK marched towards winter, the public relations industry continued to heat up thanks to some shady goings on in the world of social media outages.

As every PR over the age of 32 will know, reactive PR was actually invented by the HASHTAG-Digital PR brigade in the last five years, so we can only imagine the number of piggybacking emails sent to the media when FaceWhatsAgram crashed on Monday.

Bad PR

Facebook

I guess that leads us nicely into outing the first Bad PR of the week, Facebook. The outage seemed to affect all its social platforms and despite the conspiracy theorists trying to pin the blame on people working from home, I doubt we will ever know the real reason. It capped off a torrid week for the anti-social giant thanks to several leaked reports coming out about the company knowing that its channels can negatively affect mental health.

Quite often in this column, a bad company decision, rather than a bad decision made by that company’s comms team wins it the title of Bad PR but in Facebook’s case, its actual PR team had a shocker.

When the Wall Street Journal approached the social-giant comms team with details of the leaked documents and a heads-up that it was going to run the story in approximately an hour, the company then broke its agreement to not say anything before the story ran by pushing out two documents about this issue.

In crisis comms terms (as far as I know the HASHTAG Digital PR brigade has yet to lay claim to inventing this part of the comms world) the goal is to get ahead of the story, but Facebook has committed a cardinal PR sin and you can guarantee it will never again get a heads-up about a hatchet job story by a media outlet. Double Bad PR for Zuck’s gang.

Good PR

Amazon

For the second time in two weeks, Amazon gets Good PR from me.

This week for the launch for Amazon 4-Star, a shop where people can go in and get themselves some of Amazon’s best-selling products (that have a four-star rating or above, you get it yeah). Similar to the Astro Robot story last week, the UK press loved the new launch although I am amazed that no one drew any comparison to Argos and its own offering. If this test store succeeds, we can all expect an Amazon 4-Star popping up, maybe in some of the old Argos units that become vacant after lockdown.

Tesco

Another retailer with some brilliant news was Tesco. It reported upbeat results this week and hinted that it was getting over the HGV driver shortage and supply-chain issues.

Whilst we are not out of the supermarket woods in terms of Christmas being saved, it should come as a great relief to cash-strapped families across the UK that prices should start to return to normal levels once everyone stops panic-buying.

Nice work Tesco!

Tui

Tui is another brand who is powering out of the Covid-business-coma courtesy of some hugely positive statements around the volume of bookings for 2022. It expects next year’s demand to be at 2019 levels and has cited a 15% increase in prices as a prime indicator of the industry confidence in the travel market.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and BMJ

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the British Medical Journal gave us nice PR of the week thanks to warnings that holding in a sneeze can cause serious damage… who knew?

There was a Covid angle to this because, apparently, people are holding in sneezes for fear of upsetting, and smothering, passers-by with their germs. A person who held their sneeze with disastrous medical consequences then became a BMJ case study, hence the media release and positive coverage.

Big thanks to @WolfofBaldSt for the story tip this week and, of course, before any of you write in, I am joking about the Digital PR brigade inventing newsjacking but, you know, if they think they did, let’s leave them to it in case their SEO overlords launch a negative link attack (again).

Peace and love. Andy offa @10Yetis on The Twitter (that didn’t fall over on Monday).

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