Good and Bad PR: Bad Apple, terrible Iceland, but good Sewport

Good PR

A job with style

Have you ever heard of the brand Sewport? Me neither, until this week, that is. It’s actually quite a cool platform that connects brands with clothing manufacturers and it hit the headlines for a particular job opening that became available.

It was announced that Sewport was on the lookout for a personal stylist and designer to travel the world with the CEO and design outfits for and dress her. This would be for all occasions, from work to social outings. Travelling the world sounds like a pretty sweet deal when it comes to a job offer, but add to that the £60k salary that’s being advertised alongside it and you can see why people everywhere are rushing to apply.

These ‘best job’ style announcements never fail to deliver awesome media coverage if the job description and salary are cool and big enough.

Sewport has now landed coverage on the Metro (at the time of writing this, it only went live 29 minutes ago) and more stories will no doubt follow rapidly. 

A quick Google search showed me that Sewport has done some other PR stunts in the past, including an advert posted on the marketplace by a woman appealing for a designer to make her a wedding dress that would feature her dead mother’s hair, and a transgender woman looking for someone to create the ultimate ‘tucking’ pants for her, after getting fed up of wearing ‘Bridget Jones’ style underwear. 

Whether or not Sewport actually has a real job opening for a £60k a year stylist for its CEO is another matter, but the PR cynic in me says this is just a very nifty little stunt for media attention.

Bad PR

Palm (oil) in face moment

Iceland, the budget supermarket that was once more known for its frozen meat than its more environmentally-friendly veggie, vegan and palm oil-free products, has done a lot to win people over in recent months.

First, there was the announcement that it would be removing palm oil from all of its own-brand products. A collective ‘hurrah!’ rang out amongst the more eco-friendly conscious of us and orangutan lovers far and wide. Then, there was the Christmas advert with the Greenpeace baby orangutan cartoon that Iceland borrowed, that pulled of the heartstrings of everyone, but didn’t make it to air for political reasons (a clever PR stunt that featured in this column back in November).

That’s all been rather forgotten about this week I’m afraid, because Iceland has been exposed for removing its own label from 17 products, rather than the palm oil in the items, to fit its new ethos. The issue with that is, well, it’s totally cheating.

Iceland has blamed technical issues and said that it did not intend to mislead customers, but the news is out there and it looks mighty bad.

It’s been picked up everywhere from the BBC and HuffPost to the Mail Online and more. The reality is, Iceland probably just didn’t manage to meet the deadline for the terms of their pledge, which was to remove palm oil as an ingredient from all own -products by the end of 2018, so it had a panic and though ‘f*ck it, let’s just remove OUR label from the products we haven’t sorted yet and hope no one notices’. But, alas, people did notice and that, my friends, is a hard lesson in ‘what not to do if you don’t want negative press’.

A bug in Apple

Apple got itself into a bit of a pickle this week too, after a glitch was uncovered that meant the FaceTime functionality was inadvertently allowing people to eavesdrop on the devices they were dialling (and sometimes access the camera footage), even if the person on the other end rejected the call. What’s even worse is that a 14 year old actually spotted this bug a week earlier and his mum emailed and called Apple, tweeted the CEO Tim Cook and ALSO faxed a letter on her law firm’s letterhead. It took Apple a while to address this, but it eventually disabled the Group FaceTime feature to sort the bug out. This has caused major privacy concerns for iPhone users, which is a big blow to the Apple brand. The negative press coverage extended far and wide.

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

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