Good & Bad PR 4 minute read
The @GiveBloodNHS Twitter account was the target for a racist comment this week and the team controlling the account responded brilliantly, earning the blood donor arm of the NHS lots of positive coverage.
@GiveBloodNHS trolls a troll
After posting a tweet featuring an ad that called for more black donors to come forward urgently to help black people with sickle cell disease, a despicable troll decided to reply with “If we deport all blacks, this will stop being an issue”. How vile.
Instead of ignoring the hatred, @GiveBloodNHS replied with tweets such as “We would not welcome you as a blood donor so please do not try to attend one of our sessions” and “OR… we could just deport you”. People following the account were quick to applaud the person who shut down the troll in such a brilliant way. Twitter has also suspended the troll’s account, which is no less that they deserved.
I’ve seen the story on the BBC, Metro, LADbible, Indy100 and loads of regionals and other sites; which is not only great for the bringing the Sickle Cell Disease campaign into the public eye, but also as a brilliant story about dealing with trolls and how to deliver an epic shut down!
East London school messes up
A primary school in London has caused controversy and landed a lot of negative media attention after an unauthorised letter was sent home to pupils’ parents asking them to be sent in to school wearing “dirty and worn-out” clothes. That’s not where the issue lay though.
October is Black History Awareness month and St Winefride’s Catholic primary school in Newham, East London, suggested that pupils should come to school dressed as slaves to mark the occasion.
The letter parents received said “It might be an idea to not wash these clothes and stain them with tea or coffee to look more authentic” and also suggested that girls could wear straw hats or cloth head-wraps and boys straw hats or berets.
Parents complained to the school and the head teacher has since issued an apology on the website, but media outlets like the Metro and The Guardian were quick to pick up on it, so the reputational damage was already done.
Escapade gets a dress down
In other news, Halloween is fast approaching and the usual controversial costumes are doing the rounds. Fancy dress website Escapade has grabbed the limelight again, this time with a Psychotic Nympho Costume. A petition was launched to get the site to remove the costume from sale, which was seen to be insensitive to those with mental health issues because it featured a straitjacket-type design. Media titles like BuzzFeed, BBC and Metro picked up on the story after it was criticised by psychiatrists,
Skinnypigs banner upset
The final piece of bad PR I’ve decided to include this week is the SkinnyPigs Fitness ad that I’m sure you’ve already heard all about. It’s very ‘Protein World’ in the ‘beach body ready’ sense that offended so many people, but still worked wonders for the brand’s publicity. The fitness classes in the North East are instantly controversial because of the brand’s name, but when an advert popped up outside a school reading “CAUTION: Skinnypigs will make you look better naked”.
People weren’t happy about the placement of the banner, or what it said on it, and the CEO and founder took a controversial stance on the brand’s Twitter account by replying to those complaining with fairly blunt and nasty messages, such as “Just another whiney feminazi who will end up bitter and alone with house full of cats (but thinks she can change the world by complaining).” He ended his string of ranty tweets with “And the scores are in. Jonny - 1. Raving lunatics - 0.” The story is everywhere and there will be a certain level of damage done to the brand; but for the most part it’s not going to massively impact the success of it. That’s just how these things tend to play out.