Wetsuit brands use some bear cheek to get great publicity on eBay, but Apple outrages with its “gay cure” app

Good PR of the week - eBay listing becomes viral hit

A strangely bear-obsessed wetsuit-wearer has sprung to notoriety in the last week, courtesy of his very funny eBay listing for a second-hand urine-free wetsuit.

The Good PR nod doesn’t relate to eBay so much – they didn't play along with the joke and told the seller that his post didn’t “comply with its rules” and were considering pulling it rather than getting on board and deriving some great PR out of it – but more to the guy himself and the companies that did well to align themselves with his listing. Most notably, XCEL Wetsuits, which should hire this guy as its PRO right away.

After the wittily written post went viral, the user was bombarded with questions and offers from companies that were keen to add products in to the listing, which eventually finished on Tuesday evening at just short of £9,000. As explained in his numerous listing updates, the seller pledged 95 per cent of the final sale price to Good Gifts charity to aid Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims due to the sheer volume of interest the page had received (650,000-plus views when I last checked).

The user had so many questions he set up a holding page for a site he called “Bears don’t wear wetsuits*“ for people to give their contact details, so that when it goes fully live, he can let them know. What the site is for is anybody’s guess – all he has given us is the fact that he’ll be “answering your questions and other things“.

Here's a picture of a bear, taking a pee

That’s how you donate to charity, Bing.

Bad PR of the week

Cure your gay

Imagine if there was a cure for gay disease (less commonly known by its medical name homosexualitis).

Wait – there is? And it’s in smartphone form as a downloadable application? Ahh, but there’s loads of pesky moderation to go through, isn’t there? Loads of checks by app store chiefs that would surely pick up on the fact that this particular app, efficacy aside, would ruffle feathers and cause a massive PR headache?

You’d think.

Apple has been widely criticised by a gay rights group and pressured by a huge number of angry people after the company approved an iPhone app from a religious ministry that encourages people to "cure" themselves of homosexuality. The campaign to have Apple remove the app, spearheaded by non-profit organisation Truth Wins Out, has been hugely popular and has encouraged the media to keep the story alive. Apple’s silence on the matter at the time of writing has also not helped its case.

The app, which would no doubt go down a storm with the Westboro Baptist Church (Google them ... they’re really nice people) was oddly accepted by Apple as appropriate – and with a four-plus age rating, too – meaning even pre-schoolers can cure themselves of that pesky illness.

Apple would be helped by publicly stating that a mistake had been made and distancing itself, but by doing that, it may find it has to answer the case for every potentially offensive approval – and with apps such as Fatbooth and Gingerbooth, the PR team would no doubt prefer not to have the hassle.

Thanks to Olivia Hughes for sending this in!

As always, please do feel free to email me or tweet me @GoodandBadPR.

Good and Bad PR is a feature on the blog of PR Agency 10 Yetis.

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