Good and Bad PR: Swiss cheese-maker Beat Wampfler plays music to its cheese (no really, it did.)

Good PR

Swiss cheese-maker Beat Wampfler has been all over the news this week after releasing the results of a totally bonkers experiment that it ran with researchers from the Bern University of Arts.

Nine huge 10kg wheels of Emmental cheese were placed in separate wooden crates back in September and there they stayed for six months to mature. This isn’t unusual; everyone knows that the best cheeses need time to age to taste good.

However, the bonkers part of the experiment is this; the cheeses were different genres of music to test how the songs impacted the flavour and aroma of the cheese. The different tracks were played to the wheels of cheese on loop for 24 hours a day (poor, tortured cheeses).

One cheese rocked out to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, another chilled to the ‘Magic Flute’ opera by Mozart and a third got down to A Tribe Called Quest’s tune ‘We Got it From Here’. Yello’s slightly creepy monk-chanting track ‘Monolith’ was played to another cheese and a fifth wheel was having a rave of its own to Vril’s ‘UV’ techno-jam.

One of the cheese wheels was left to mature in peace, with no music whatsoever, and the remaining three were each played low, medium and high frequency soundwaves respectively.

You’re probably wondering how the cheese wheels in the neighbouring crates didn’t pick up on the sounds of next door’s banging tunes, but of course the researchers thought of everything. Instead of loudspeakers, they used mini transmitters to conduct the energy of the music into the cheese. So any differences were probably more down to the vibrations of the sound than the genre of music.

If the music hadn’t made a blind bit of difference, it would’ve been a pretty pants story, but apparently “differences were observed in strength of flavour, smell and taste.” This was a blind taste test as well, so apparently completely legit. Would you brie-lieve it? Sorry.

The hip hop wheel of cheese had the fruitiest and strongest smell and taste, in case you’re wondering; and so Beat Wampfler plans to run the experiment again, but this time focusing only on hip hop music. Maybe, in future, all of the cheesemaker’s products will be matured to Dr Dre and Eminem.

The wacky story deservingly got loads of media coverage for Beat Wampfler.

Bad PR

Google has been handed an absolutely colossal fine of £1.2 billion by the European Commission for “illegal practices in search advertising brokering”, which is quite understandably very big news this week.

The search engine giant sells advertising space on its own search result pages and third party websites that sign up to its AdSense platform, but apparently the search engine giant imposed contract clauses with these websites that prevent other search advertising brokers from places adverts on these sites for clients.

The EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that, “Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition.”

This is the third time that Google has received an antitrust penalty, with the other multi-billion pound fines previously relating to its Android operating system and online shopping search results.

As you can imagine, the news of this fine is absolutely everywhere… including, ironically, all over Google, obvs.

This will probably highlight competing search advertising brokers to brands wishing to run campaigns, which could lose Google some business from its AdSense platform.

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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