Good and Bad PR: Our hearts go out to Australia

Good PR

Coca-Cola – share a coke with Firies
With the horrifying scenes coming out of Australia right now, a lot of positive PR campaigns we are seeing at the moment are all focused on raising money and awareness for the cause. In a similar style to the campaign in which the company put various names on the side of its drinks, Coca-Cola has launched a “Share a Coke with the Firies” edition, in aid of the Australian firefighters who have worked tirelessly during the bushfire crisis.

Whilst the cans will not be available for sale, they are going to be donated straight to the people at the frontline of the blaze. This is just the latest donation that the conglomerate has pledged to the crisis, following a series of donations that add up to more than A$1m. Other notable companies have come under criticism for their limited donations – not naming any names (Jeff Bezos). Nice work, Coke!

Maty Ryan – A$500 for every save
As mentioned, a great deal of positive stories have come out of the terribly unfortunate events, and the next one focuses on Australian goalkeeper Maty Ryan, who has also made a sizable donation. The Brighton and Hove Albion keeper pledged to donate A$500 for every save registered in the Premier League over the weekend. All money was donated to the Australian Bushfire Relief Fund, and in the end he donated nearly A$30,000. A remarkable gesture from the Aussie keeper!

Greggs – giving bonuses
The Greggs PR machine continues to rumble on, with a seemingly endless series of positive stories being generated by the bakery. Following the unmitigated success of its vegan sausage roll, the pastry giant launched a vegan stake beak this January, which has also been warmly received (on occasion too warm, depending on how long it had been out of the oven).

After a hugely successful 2019 – in a large part due to the introduction of the vegan roll – Greggs announced that it will be giving its 25,000 employees a bonus, with each employee lined up to receive an extra £280, amassing £7m in total. First the vegan exploits and now this; the nation’s favourite bakery keeps impressing. Long live Greggs!

Bad PR

Delta – fuelling a bad image
Delta Air Lines has been left red-faced, after one of its planes ended up dumping fuel directly on to an elementary school playground, presumably by accident. A Delta flight, bound for Shanghai, had to make an emergency landing at LAX following an engine issue, and had to dump fuel in order to reduce its landing weight. However, unfortunately for the airline and those affected, the fuel fell directly onto an Elementary School playground, injuring as many as 60 adults and children in the process.

Thankfully for everyone involved, it is thought that there are no major injuries, although this will likely do lasting damage to Delta’s image; of all the best places to dump fuel, elementary school playgrounds probably come close to the bottom.

Travelex – data hack
Travelex was the unfortunate victim of a massive cyber-attack, and is still experiencing outages two weeks later. There has been little to no updates from the company itself, which goes directly against lesson number one of crisis PR – that regular and meaningful updates are crucial.

The best thing for Travelex to do would have been to get ahead of the stories, anticipate what was coming and work around it, but it seems that its users have long since lost patience with the issue. The sooner the company gets its services back up and running the better for all concerned, because consumers and banks will be very wary when using Travelex in the future, and the longer this goes on the worse it could get.

Written Charlie Biggs-Thomas, PR account executive 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


Creative Moment Awards 2020