Freedom from Torture, Richard Branson and FHM are hot this week, but The Sun and Addison Lee are in hot water

Good PR of the week

Abusing job ads

Freedom from Torture, a foundation for the care of victims of torture, took to newspaper job pages last week in a bid to raise funds and to increase awareness of its work. However, it didn’t just ask for passionate people to apply for jobs at the foundation. No, no, no. That would be boring. Instead, it asked for people who fancied being a kidnapper, abuser or torturer to step forward – highlighting in the text that the job ad may not be real, but that people fill these roles all around the world.

Here’s a job ad placed for a kidnapper in the Independent: 

And here’s one placed for a torturer in the Guardian:

 Here’s another ad taken from the site, asking for abusers to step forward:

Branson on ice

Devised so the Virgin boss could travel “in spirit” with his passengers by PR agency Mischief, ice-cubes formed to look like the face of Sir Richard Branson will be served in drinks from the new on-plane, upper-class bar. A team of four designers worked to create the moulds necessary to shape the cubes, using laser-scanning technology to ensure his face looks as accurate as possible.


Although this campaign certainly seems narcissistic – something many have stated – the stunt has gained a huge amount of coverage for the newly launched on-plane bars – the “longest in the sky” we’re assured.

FHM’s sexy PR

A special mention also has to go to lad’s mag FHM, which gave its annual “sexiest woman in the world” award to N-Dubz lead singer Tulisa Contostavlos, who – you may remember – starred in a certain short film a month or so ago.

Media outlets often struggle to get people talking – mostly because other publications are unlikely to mention them – so I’d go out on a limb to say that readers are unlikely to have voted for the singer to top the list. I’d go as far as to say that FHM has manufactured Tulisa’s win in a topical effort to ensure people discuss the magazine. And it’s worked.

Three or four of the trending topics on Twitter on the day of the announcement were related to Tulisa/the award. FHM won’t mind that the majority of conversations exasperatedly revolved around the fact that Tulisa had beaten women whom many seem to consider more attractive (I’m making no comment whatsoever), because they’re able to assure that readers voted for her.

As far as Tulisa’s PR has gone since the video, I’ve been impressed. She’s been everywhere since, including a week-long stint on Radio 1’s breakfast show and numerous “hands-up” interviews, effectively managing her way out of what could have been a sticky situation.

Bad PR of the week

The Sun

The day after Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager, The Sun – usually the yardstick by which all headlines should be measured – decided to lead with the headline: ‘Bwing on the Euwos! (We’ll see you in Ukwaine against Fwance)’, mocking Hodgson’s speech impediment:

I’m sure the sub-editor/whoever was responsible for the headline thought it was harmless fun, but in this case, The FA and Press Complaints Commission both stated that they received a “large” number of complaints, prompting The FA to make the following statement on its site:

“On this occasion, we will not be making an official complaint to the PCC but we have raised it with the newspaper and made it clear that their front page is unacceptable to us”.

The FA’s Chairman David Bernstein said: “We are delighted at the media response to Roy’s appointment but are disappointed with the headline in The Sun, which we consider is in poor taste and disrespectful.”

Addison Lee loses customers

Three weeks ago, London minicab firm Addison Lee’s chairman John Griffin instructed his drivers to use bus lanes illegally. I know, I know, this feels like old news, doesn’t it?

Well, not only did Transport for London (TfL) win an injunction against the company to prevent it from doing this, but it was announced that the government wouldn’t be renewing its contract, either.

The government’s chief procurement officer John Collington had the following to say: “We expect all private-hire vehicles in London to adhere to the prohibition on using bus lanes. In regard to Addison Lee, the only existing government contract with the company will expire at the end of this month and is not being renewed." (Source: BikeBiz).

Although the value of the contract isn’t known, the knock-on PR impact has been – and will continue to be – significant. 

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. Rich also writes about PR stunts at