Good and Bad PR: From the depths of Boris Johnson’s week to the heights of NASA’s

As we stagger beautifully towards the end of what has been a very Dry January for many, let’s take a moment to celebrate the Good PR of the week and commiserate the Bad PR of the last seven days.

Terrible PR

Boris Johnson

Boris dominated the headlines for all the wrong reasons for another seven days and could even be gone by the time you read this, depending on the findings of the Sue Gray report. At the time of writing though, he was clinging on.

Great PR

Bentley

One brand that could give Boris the opportunity to say “I got Brexit right” is car brand Bentley who, despite the UK’s exit from Europe, has now committed £2.5bn into the British economy. The luxury car maker has announced that it will make its new electric vehicles in its existing factories in Crewe, saving jobs and making positive headlines for the UK economy and the brand itself.

The story gave car brands and the digital PR brigade alike the chance to piggyback galore and it was a win-win for comms folk everywhere. It even gave the local Tory MP the chance to be quizzed on something that was unrelated to his boss’s party/not party party. Nice one Bentley.

Bad PR

Brewdog

Moving to the other side of PR, Brewdog and its CEO once again kept their comms team on its toes thanks to a BBC expose documentary that revealed some of its shady practices. Accusations of the CEO, James Watt taking drunk people to do private tours of his breweries could almost be brushed off when you think that drinking is the actual business, but stories about the company buying shares in Heineken whilst publicly slating the brand paints a somewhat confusing picture.

It all makes for a messy ending and comes at a time where the brand is trying to recover its reputation after an employee rebellion in 2021.

Good PR

Pets at Home

Pets at Home gets a belly rub and a tickle on the schnozzle for announcing record profits for the last year thanks to pets seemingly not being affected by the cost-of-living increase. Spending on cats, dogs and other furry creatures at the store was up 8% year on year and whilst many humans are feeling the pinch with bills and food prices on the up, our pampered animals are blissfully oblivious and being kept in the high standards that they have come to expect and rightly deserve.

This was the feel-good story of the week that we all needed and the media lapped it up accordingly.

Dubious PR

Oatly

One brand that lapped up some bad PR this week was fake-milk company Oatly. The oat-obsessed cow-haters made some dubious claims about the environmental benefits of its fake milk compared to actual milk and a number of people (most likely its competitors as is normally the case) complained to the ASA.

Oatly apologised, vegans probably fainted with the stress of it all and the dairy farmers celebrated for a short period of time before going back to moaning about the hours they have to work and the general low price of milk (I feel I have offended everyone equally here).

Out of this world PR

Finally, it has been a crazy busy week in the world of Space PR.

Elon Musk

Elon and his Space X posse got some vaguely indifferent headlines because of the news that a four-tonne chunk of a rocket it launched seven years ago has gone rogue and is about to stove into the moon. Let’s hope there is nothing actually living on the moon after all, or they are in for a bad day as the human race once again demonstrates that we are the worst interplanetary neighbours.

NASA

NASA tried to make up for Elon’s rogue rockets courtesy of some nice PR. First of all, it announced a competition with a prize of $1m to those who can come up with the best solution for more nutritious food that can be consumed by those astronauts who embark on years’ long space trips (have they thought of Oatly?).

Not content with that PR hit, NASA then revealed how some of its better space-related inventions have made it into real life such as a robo-glove that now helps people with hand related injuries, space-suit materials that have now been used by hiking companies in their outdoor survival gear, water filters now used in everyday drinking water bottles and the technology behind growing fruit and veg in space being used in urban and densely populated areas using false light and little to no soil.

Great PR for NASA all round really!

Got it right or wrong, 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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