Good and Bad PR: Fortnite and Australian government rule but there's another cock-up

Well hello there campaign addicts. We return for another wander through the world of public relations. This week has been dominated by Bozza and his plan to unleash us all back upon each other. There is no doubt that the blanket media coverage that followed Monday’s announcement made it a tougher than usual week for us “outreach ninjas”*.

*I blame Americans on LinkedIn for the growing use of this hideous term.

Good PR

Fortnite
Good PR of the week has to go to Fortnite. It feels like only yesterday that we were being warned by schools and the national media that it was an online vehicle of the devil, but the media turnaround was complete this week courtesy of a large positive piece on the BBC about the founders investing in the University of Ulster. Epic Games (owners and creators of Fortnite) has endorsed one of the uni’s creative courses along with a $1m investment in its screen academy.

I, for one, think that the Fortnite PR team deserve huge credit for the media turn-around and it should in fact become an academic PR case study in how to approach a wall of negative media attitudes.

Australian government
Facebook vs The Australian government has been a great bun-fight to watch. As we all know, Facebook stopped our upside-down-land based cousins from being able to share news websites on its social network. This also, accidentally, blocked some government news and health advice websites which, in the current climate, was never going to go down well.

It is difficult to truly see who blinked first, but I would suspect that, behind the scenes, the Facebook boffins would have been monitoring the assumed drop off in platform usage and this played a big factor in its decision to find a compromise within days of taking the decision. To try and challenge an entire country, let alone a country where at any one time you are probably metres away from a creature that can kill you, is never going to end well.

Both parties have come out with a few bruises but I think Good PR has to go to the Aussie government, on a points decision.

Bad PR

The UK government
In another Company vs Government spat, this week we saw Pfizer and The Right Honourable Matt Hancock MP slip into a row that will have driven the hard-working Downing St comms folk mad. 

When the government PR bosses were drawing up the communications plans Q&A documents around the roll out of the vaccine, at the very top of that list will have been: “Don’t blame the vaccine makers for any slow downs that may occur”. It would lead to an unwanted distraction and set the media down an easily accessed rabbit hole.

MP Hancock duly cited supply chain issues in an interview on the matter and Pfizer immediately snapped back that there were no issues at its end.

This led to further scrutiny and arguments in a week where it should have been good news all round.

Hancock himself is going through a torrid time, largely due to serious allegations being faced about PPE equipment tenders, so you can understand the slip-up, but it is another mistake that has caused his boss even more headaches and can only be moving him slowly closer to a lesser role once the scrutiny and the situation allows.

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