Good and Bad PR: Thomas Cook, who else?

What a week it’s been! After the collapse of Thomas Cook this week and the subsequent logistical nightmare of trying to fly the 150,000 British passengers home, there was only ever going to be one major theme for this week’s blog wasn’t there? Let me fill you in…

Good PR

British Airways

This is a lovely story that has emerged from the collapse of Thomas Cook, and is the perfect example of a brand (in this case British Airways) piggybacking on the back of a brands PR disaster in a positive and ethical manner. The team at BA offered to fund a seven-year-old cancer survivor’s trip to Disneyland Orlando after it was cancelled following the events of this week.

Connor Kitching from Hillingdon in Middlesex was planning the holiday next month after being given the all-clear from doctors at Great Ormond Street in November last year, but had booked to travel through Thomas Cook. Thanks to British Airways offering to cover the cost of new flights to America as well their hotel stay whilst away, he and his family thankfully won’t miss out on the holiday of a lifetime. They will be travelling on business-class flights from London Heathrow to Miami for 14 nights on 2 October.

Speaking to the Press Association, a friend of the family said:

“Back in 2017, the community did a lot of fundraising and raised quite a bit of money to send Connor to Disney World with his family. It was booked after Connor got the all clear. Due to the Thomas Cook breakdown the whole holiday was cancelled as it was booked through Thomas Cook. We’ve been contacted today from British Airways who has now covered the cost of the flights and accommodation so that the family don’t miss out on the holiday.”

Let’s hope Connor has the best time away!

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg. What a girl.

The 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden made headlines in every corner of the globe this week after delivering a passionate speech in which she accused world leaders of stealing her childhood during the UN climate action summit.

An image of Thunberg, already known prominently for inspiring climate strikes amongst school pupils around the world, went viral after it portrayed her giving the US president Donald Trump a look that can only be described as seething as he walked past her.

He later tweeted the following sarcastic tweet, angering thousands:

Greta bravely retaliated to arguably the most powerful man in the world by changing her Twitter bio to read “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future” – showcasing her ability to forget the haters and continue forward with helping to make a better world for everyone.

Bad PR

Thomas Cook

I mean, I probably don’t even need to mention this do I? Not after it’s pretty much all that’s being spoken about on TV and social media.

After weeks of speculation, the travel company Thomas Cook officially ceased trading on Monday after 178 years of being one of the most well-known and trusted brands in UK travel. With more than 600 high street stores and employing approximately 9,000 in the UK, the effects of the collapse will be catastrophic for many people relying on the company to pay their bills, not to mention those who’d already booked and paid for future holidays with the corporation that have now been cancelled.

600,000 holidaying abroad with the company were left without means of getting home after Monday’s news, after bosses at Thomas Cook failed to secure the £200 million it needed to keep the business afloat.

At the time of writing this (25 September), there were still more than 100,000 holidaymakers due to be brought home on government rescue flights, with rumours circulating that Thomas Cook’s auditors and directors are to face investigations from regulators and MPs in order to provide answers for how such a blunder could occur.

Great British Bake Off

Fans of GBBO have been left heartbroken following Tuesday night’s episode, as two firm favourites were sent home by Paul and Prue, but with many arguing that they sent the wrong contestants home.

It was a ‘1920s week’ theme last night, and after some major highs and lows, Scottish Michelle and self-professed goth Helena were both asked to leave the tent after five weeks’ worth of bakes behind them.

Viewers were understandably enraged about Helena leaving, particularly considering she won last night’s technical challenge. Some have even started a petition to reinstate her to the show (a bit tricky seeing as it was filmed over the summer and the winner was crowned months ago!) and vowed to discontinue watching the series out of respect for their favourite baker.

Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan making the Bad PR segment of this week’s column? Shocker I know.

The always-opinionated Good Morning Britain presenter has let loose on the Brit Awards’ decision to potentially drop Best Male Artist and Best Female Artist awards at next year’s ceremony, a move that came just a week after the singer Sam Smith bravely announced his gender-neutral status, and that he will now be referred to as they/them rather than ‘he’.

Mr Morgan went on a stereotypically huge rant on Monday’s programme, calling the situation nonsense and criticising the fact that the Brits have changed the way that its awards work for one artist, stating on the show:

“We change everything for one guy, that's what it boils down to. One guy who can't decide from one day to the next if he's male or female. So all gendered awards have to go."

Clearly angered by her co-host’s bigoted and outdated views, Susanna Reid attempted to fight back by defending genderless awards and explaining that they are a step in the right direction in the fight against inequality.

Someone give that woman her own show!

Written by Lauren Wilden, head of PR at 10 Yetis. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email