Good and Bad PR: Asda wins the ethical prize this week, but Cadbury and Derby Uni cock up

Good PR

You have to (second) hand it to Asda!

Asda has shown how piggybacking on a topical awareness month can lead to a string of positive media coverage.

It is officially Second Hand September and Asda is trialling an initiative that, if the supermarket ends up rolling out widely, will improve the environmental impact of its clothing arm. The ‘Re-Loved’ pop-up is a second hand clothing initiative that is only available in the Milton Keynes store, encouraging shoppers to consider buying pre-loved items.

Proceeds from the pop-up will be donated to Breast Cancer Now and Breast Cancer Care via Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign.

Earlier this year, the supermarket chain launched recycled polyester clothing and it also has a new sustainability strategy. The second-hand clothing pop up is only running for a couple of weeks, but may reach further stores if it’s a success.

It’s always encouraging when you see brands taking steps to lessen their environmental impact and Asda has already received a decent number of media mentions off the back of the Re-Loved launch.

Bad PR

Bad policing at Derby Uni

The University of Derby put their foot in it recently and had to issue an apology, after offending police officers with a social media ad.

The sponsored post on Facebook from the University of Derby page read, “Exams not gone to plan? Call us on 01332 592019 to secure your place on one of our Policing courses starting this September.”

The advert seemed to suggest that those joining the police force were not as academically bright as those choosing other university options, and the backlash on social media from serving police professionals and other people who saw the ad wasn’t great.

Serving police officer Aaron Clarke tweeted the following:

Advert not gone to plan? Call us on 01332 592019 to secure your place on our Marketing courses starting this September.@DerbyUni. We even accept thick cops, cos why wouldn’t we cash in on policing privatisation?#Degreegate - the gift that keeps on giving @CollegeofPolice #PEQF pic.twitter.com/C6hWkUsXHC

— Aaron Clarke (@InspClarke) 28 August 2019

He told the BBC that “people should not choose policing as an after-thought through poor results” and he’s exactly right. Although I’m sure Derby uni did not mean for the advert to come across in that way, and has issued an apology and removed the post, it just goes to show the importance of wording in marketing activity.

The story was picked up by the BBC and then made it onto ITV, the Daily Mail, Telegraph, regional titles and others.

Thanks to Simon Turton from Opera PR & Communications for the heads up on this one.

Cadbury is not cool

In other news, Cadbury’s limited edition ‘Unity’ bar that was launched in India on the country’s Independence Day – which features dark, white, blended and milk chocolate, has been accused of ‘woke-washing’, which is the latest way to describe brands that jump on the bandwagon of ethical and progressive issues just to prey on consumers and make sales. The brand’s efforts to promote diversity have been slammed on social media.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email

PRmoment Awards 2020