Good and Bad PR: Sweet headlines for Rowntree’s, Lindt and Lewis Hamilton, but it turns sour for Netflix and Jo Malone

Hello all! I certainly hope you’ve been enjoying the mid-September heatwave we’ve been enjoying this past week. Apparently, the glorious sunshine is expected to stick around for the rest of the month now, so a warm end to summer is something to be thankful for this year, even if there is almost nothing else good to come from 2020!

Anyway, whilst you sit back and relax in your garden and soak up that last bit of Vitamin D, here is this week’s Good and Bad PR for you to peruse at your leisure…

Good PR

Lewis Hamilton

British Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has been applauded by BLM activists across the world after choosing to wear a T-shirt that read ‘Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor’ during the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The powerful T-shirt also featured an image of Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was shot dead when officers raided her Kentucky apartment in a drug search back in March this year.

Using his global platform to share such a strong political statement could’ve backfired for Lewis, who is currently being investigated by the FIA on whether or not rules were broken. Nonetheless, he is clearly receiving the full support of his peers in the industry, including Damon Hill who tweeted that ‘F1 has always had its head in the sand over any issue that might make people think about anything other than F1. It has to make space for these messages if it is to be embraced by the wider world.’

A sentiment clearly echoed by others around the world.

Rowntree’s

A lot of vegans and people following a plant-based diet will be happy this week after hearing the news that the recipes of some of their favourite sweet treats have been adjusted to accommodate their diets.

That’s right, Rowntree’s has announced that after more than 30 different trials, its staple favourites’; Jelly Tots, Fruit Pastilles (original) and Fruit Pastilles (strawberry and blackcurrant) are now officially vegan-friendly after switching the traditional recipe to a gelatine-free formula.

Sharing bags of the new vegan sweets will be available to buy in the UK from October, followed by individual packs later on in the year.

Discussing the reinvented fruit pastilles, a spokesperson for Rowntree’s told the Evening Standard that the new recipe means that the sweets are slightly softer, but remain as deliciously chewy as ever.

With the number of vegans in the UK quadrupling between 2014 and 2019 (according to an Ipsos Mori survey) it’s now anybody guess as to which brand will be bringing out a new vegan – friendly recipe of a classic.

My money is on Jaffa Cakes – I know A LOT of vegans who desperately miss eating them!

Lindt

If there’s one thing that could cheer up the world in one collective mood right now, surely it must be the opening of the largest chocolate museum in the world right?

Well, Lindt clearly agrees, hence the opening of its 65,000-square-foot ‘Home of Chocolate’ museum in Zurich, Switzerland. Featuring a 30-foot free-standing chocolate, and more than 1,500kg of melted chocolate overflowing over a giant Lindor ball, this is basically confectionary heaven.

There’s also a chocolate history room, where a digitally interactive panoramic wall and round media table allows guests to learn the back story of the humble bean, as well as the creation process of Lindt chocolate. You can even design your own dream chocolate bar and take away a signature Lindt ball from the museum’s gift shop. It’s like a real-Iife Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

The only catch? Switzerland is currently on the quarantine list, so anyone wishing to travel to the museum will need to isolate for two weeks on their return.

Totally worth it for the chocolate to be honest. Book me a flight to Zurich now.

Bad PR

Netflix

I didn’t think there was anything the absolute powerhouse of a brand that is Netflix could do to warrant ending up on the Bad PR section of this column; but it’s 2020 and honestly nothing can surprise me at this point can it?

Turns out, Netflix has landed itself in some hot water over the past week or so, due to its decision to air a highly controversial French movie called Cuties – which many believe sexualises the young girls featured in the film focused on an 11-year-old girl in Paris who becomes obsessed with a dance troupe.

The outcry surrounding the movie has led to thousands threatening to cancel their subscriptions to the service, with a petition on change.org urging those to desert Netflix reaching more than 600,000 signatures from members of the public. Subsequently, the hashtag #CancelNetflix has also been trending on Twitter during the past week.

Those defending Netflix called Cuties a ‘powerful and award-winning film about the pressures that young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up’.

Jo Malone

The perfume brand Jo Malone has come under some intense scrutiny this week following the news that British Star Wars actor John Boyega has quit his role as ambassador for the brand after an ad that he created for it himself in lockdown was remade for the Asian market using a Chinese actor.

The personal video was made in John’s London home at the height of the global pandemic earlier this year, and featured the actor in his home borough of Peckham in London, liaising with his family and friends. All references to this were removed for the remade Asian version – which has understandably infuriated the actor and his millions of global fans.

Jo Malone London has since taken down the offensive remake, and taken steps to admit its wrongdoing and calling the incident a ‘misstep’ (without ACTUALLY apologising, it’s worth noting.)

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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