Good and Bad PR: Jamie Oliver and Katie Hopkins are this week’s baddies

Happy October everybody! That’s right, the season of pumpkin-spiced lattes, Halloween and fireworks is finally upon us,and I am seriously excited about it.

To officially welcome the new month in, here are some of my top picks of the very best and the very worst PR examples from the last week.

Good PR

Burger King

All the heart-warming feels from this lovely move by the team at Burger King this week. The fast-food joint decided to give support to its biggest rival McDonald’s and stop selling its biggest selling burger in Argentina – The Whopper – for the day.

The reason behind this was because last Thursday (26 September), $2 from every Big Mac and other signature burger sold in the South American country, was donated to the brands fundraising campaign, Children With Cancer.

Burger King spokespeople revealed that not only did it remove all Whoppers from its Argentinian menus for the day, it also actively encouraged disappointed customers to seek out a nearby McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac and donate to the charity instead. This move resulted in 73,437 more Big Macs being sold, and a record year for proceeds donated to children with cancer.

The fact that two such huge brands can come together for a cause like this will no doubt be replicated amongst other competitors for future campaigns, and as long as it’s doing good for those in need like this one, then we are all for it.

Asda

Supermarket giant Asda is aiming to make the struggles of those taking their children suffering with different forms of Autism grocery shopping that little bit easier with the introduction of a new scheme.

The ‘Happy Little Helper’ scheme is being rolled out across all Asda stores in the UK and Wales, and will see each location introduce a regular slot where all public announcements and music turned off in order to reduce the amount of upsetting or distracting news that children suffering with special educational needs have to deal.

As well as this, families can ask for a child-friendly shopping list featuring Makaton symbols of common grocery items in order to help them feel more integrated in the shopping experience. They can use the Velcro-backed symbols to help their parents shop, and tick off items as they walk through the aisles.

The concept of ‘Happy Little Helper’ was devised by Jenny Barnett, a shop assistant working for Asda who has an autistic son herself and knows how tough even simple tasks like doing the weekly shop can be on parents of autistic children. She hopes her idea will help alleviate the pressure on mums and dads, and that by having the Makaton shopping list to concentrate on, children will be less likely to get distracted.

Costa

Free coffee anyone?

Well at the time of writing this (Tuesday afternoon) that’s exactly what anyone working or living near one of the 8,500 participating Costa Express machines could get throughout the day.

In order to highlight to customers that the drinks from its machines are just as delicious as barista-made coffee, Costa decided to offer free coffee, tea or hot chocolate from its machines all day on 1 October.

It’s a great idea, and one that could seriously improve the reputation of Costa’s coffee machines if all goes to plan. However, if not everyone gets their free drink, I would imagine that the likes of Starbucks and Café Nero will have a field day!

Bad PR

Jamie Oliver

People are not happy with the Naked Chef this week. Not one little bit.

After all but three of the 44 year old’s 25 UK restaurants went into administration in May this year, it has now emerged that he was paid £5.2 million from the ‘Jamie Oliver Group’ for his work in 2018.

Understandably, with 1,000 people left out of work after the closures, and creditors facing an £83 million loss, people are enraged that Oliver has had the audacity to take home such a huge salary (even if it was down more than £3m from the £8.6m dividend he was paid in 2017.)

Whilst he is yet to make any public comments about the amount of money he was paid as his restaurants faced such a testing time, it’s very hard not to wonder why he didn’t try and do more – and even pay out some of his own money – in order to try and save what was undoubtedly his biggest passion project.

Katie Hopkins

Shocker I know, but Katie Hopkins is being awarded bad PR this week.

Whilst it’s hard to feel shocked at anything when it comes to the disgraced and controversial ex-Apprentice contestant, this week she has pushed it that one step too far and angered many with her tweets regarding the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the recent allegations made against him.

After this week being accused of groping a young journalist’s thigh almost two decades when he was the editor of the Spectator magazine, Hopkins tweeted the following:

With almost 8,000 replies to the tweet (most of them angry ones) and counting, it seems as though the self-proclaimed ‘biggest bitch in Britain’ honestly doesn’t care who or how she offends people at this point, as long as she gets noticed, retweets and media attention.

As a mother myself, and with Katie having two teenage daughters, I can’t help but wonder how she would feel if one of her children came to her with a similar predicament of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace. Would it not matter just so long as the perpetrator was a well-off, well-to-do, middle-class politician?

Written by Lauren Wilden, head of PR at 10 Yetis Digital. 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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