Good & Bad PR 6 minute read
Great PR for a Devon B&B thanks to a TripAdvisor award and a lasagne delivers a gender message. The bad PR this week is for Avon and Ironman who fail to impress with their take on women.
TripAdvisor’s first Travellers’ Choice Awards of the year have taken place, and The 25 – a boutique B&B in Torquay, Devon – has been honoured with the title of the best B&B in the world, not just the UK. The awards, run by the renowned travel review site, offer a fresh wave of coverage for any of the winning hotels, B&Bs, places, restaurants or experiences; although this round of awards has just been under the ‘hotels’ category (the airline, restaurant and other categories come later in the year).
The winners are determined using an algorithm that analyses the millions of reviews over a single year, which drills down into the opinions of travellers around the globe. For TripAdvisor and The 25 B&B in Torquay (as well as accommodation winners from the other hotel categories like ‘all inclusive’), the 2019 Travellers’ Choice Awards have landed coverage on the likes of Metro, ITV, Daily Mail and a bucket load of other media outlets both in and out of the UK.
In other news, those of you wishing to reveal the gender of your baby to friends, family or just amongst yourselves in a creative way need search no more. A gender-reveal lasagne has been unveiled in the latest “WTF?” wacky PR stunt.
An American catering company and restaurant chain named Villa Italian Kitchen is the only place to offer these lasagnes, which are made with either pink or blue cheese when you cut into them, and it’ll deliver to more than 100 cities in the US.
It costs over £100 for a lasagne that feeds around 12 people, but you really can’t put a price on a unique gender reveal, can you? Hmm. As you can imagine, this got lots of attention, as Villa Italian Kitchen fully intended, and even though some people slated the idea and tweeted angrily about it, this has definitely done the trick in earning the US foodie brand some strong brand awareness.
Two brands spring to mind for this week’s bad PR write-up and you might be able to guess. First up, Avon; the beauty brand was called out for body shaming women, after a brochure campaign aimed at its North American customer-base implied that cellulite was an abnormality or defect, rather than a completely normal body feature that up to 90% of women experience at some point in their lives.
To rewind a little, Avon was launching an anti-cellulite cream called ‘Smooth Moves Naked Proof’ and this campaign was to get the word out about it. In itself, there’s nothing wrong with products that claim to help reduce cellulite; some women want to do this, but some women couldn’t care less (and rightly so).
The body positive moment that’s sweeping the world has been making great progress, so when brands like Avon release promotional material with messages on such as ‘dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs) it’s understandable that there’s going to be huge backlash.
Presenter and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil posted a series of tweets about the ad, which were retweeted and liked by tens of thousands of people:
And yet EVERYONE has dimples on their thighs, I do, you do, and the CLOWNS at @Avon_UK certainly do. Stop shaming women about age, gravity and cellulite. They’re inevitable, completely normal things. To make us fear them and try to “fix”them, is to literally set us up for failure pic.twitter.com/78kqu3nHeE— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
Shame on @AvonInsider and any publication that allows this sort of abusive advertising. My timeline is full of women saying adverts like these are why they are afraid to be naked in front of lovers, or to wear a swimsuit. You are being robbed of your money and self esteem. �� https://t.co/YgNIeKaZVm— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
Every body is beautiful, unless they have any “flaws” I guess. What a gross abuse of the body positive movement. I want you all to look out for this constant manipulation. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere. You are constantly being manipulated to self hate. pic.twitter.com/cUnV8N3lD8— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
Women came together to berate Avon and the brand responded to Jameela saying: “Hi Jameela, we completely understand where you’re coming from. We realize that we missed the mark with this messaging. We have removed this messaging from all future marketing materials. We fully support our community in loving their bodies and feel confident in their own skin.”
Avon UK, which operates separately from Avon USA has distanced itself from the campaign, but the knock-on effect to the brand here will still have an impact. In the US, the campaign has been removed following the negative reaction and social media and bad press.
Another brand that had to confess to “missing the mark” this week (I hate that excuse, don’t you?) was Ironman. Well known for its seemingly impossible-to-complete ultra-triathlons, which involve a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and are finished off with a full 26.2 mile marathon just for giggles, you wouldn’t expect Ironman to launch a 5K fun run, would you?
Well, launch one it did and they got it totally, utterly wrong. A poster started doing the rounds online, advertising ‘Iron Girl’ which was billed as a 5k “fun run” open to females aged 16+. Considering that women are three times more likely than men to finish and ultramarathon, you can imagine how this “fun run” for “girls” was received. Spoiler alert… badly.
The #IMUK weekend just got bigger! We're excited to announce Iron Girl is coming to Bolton, Friday 12 July 2019.— Ironman UK (@Ironman_UK) January 16, 2019
Iron Girl is a 5K run, open to women aged 16 and up, entry is £10. Entries open Friday 18 January at 1pm on https://t.co/lZkYLc8kb9. pic.twitter.com/MQTl1KmaIS
The tweet to promote it is still up at the time of writing this, even though it’s been rebranded as ‘Night Run’ now and is open to all. My favourite response was from a woman who tweeted “Ooh fantastic! Can I stop half way to do some knitting and put my husband’s dinner on? I may need to redo my hair ribbons and make up too!”
As fate would have it, the ‘Iron Girl’ announcement was made on the same day that a woman named Jasmin Paris won the mixed gender 268 mile Montane Spine Race, beating the record by over 12 hours and stopping at regular check points to pump breast milk for her 14-month old. Unfortunately for Ironman organisers, this couldn’t have happened at a better time!