Good and Sad PR
Scrapping of BMI measure
Let’s get some of the darker stuff out of the way first. The Women and Equalities Committee did all of us weight-obsessed people a favour this week by suggesting the scrapping of BMI as a measurement of body health. As someone who has recently transitioned from being a five-person-lift down to a far healthier two-person-lift I know all too well about the failures and dangers of BMI readings, so it was great to see the MPs’ report into this and the strong suggestions that it is scrapped across the board.
It comes on the week when we lost the hugely charismatic Nikki Grahame to an eating disorder and far too many people fall through the NHS support cracks because their BMI results do not qualify them for treatment, so this campaign is a major PR win and the blanket coverage was a huge success.
Moving on to retail and you would expect a flaky PR such as myself to take one look at the headlines relating to Tesco’s results and declare it as the not-so-proud winners of Bad PR but, when you delve into it, it has communicated some really strong messaging and win Good PR for me.
Top line, the supermarket giant made an overall loss, but its trading figures were actually up by 7% and it was the unprecedented costs associated with Covid-19 that dragged the overall profit down. Independent City analysts came out and praised the fact that the bulk of the additional costs came from Tesco trying to keep customers and its own staff safe and well during a tough trading time.
In addition to the general City praise, even Marketing Land got in on the act courtesy of Tesco taking out full page national adverts on National Pub Reopening Day, encouraging customers to go and support the retail trade rather than buying alcohol from a supermarket. Tesco, not so much Good PR this week, more a case of Great PR (yes, that feels a bit Simon Cowell saying it like that).
More good PR for Epic Games and, in particular, its Fortnite game as it announced a $1bn round of funding with $200m of that coming from entertainment giant Sony. The more eagle-eyed amongst you will remember it receiving Good PR from myself a little while back because of the turn-around in its positioning from being in the scope sights of the likes of the Daily Mail, to now being the darling of the tech community and not quite the force for evil that many predicted.
The funding announcement this week really solidifies its position as one of the greatest gaming companies of all time and its comms teams around the world deserve great praise.
More Sad PR
Prince Philip tributes
The sad news of Prince Philip’s passing brought out the best and worst in brands this week. Network Rail got a boot from the Royal National Institute for the Blind by changing the colour scheme of its site in remembrance, only to render it difficult to use by sight-impaired visitors. The BBC got accused of going overboard in its tributes and programming on the day of, and day after, his death, and the Labour party leader was criticised for rushing out his own message of condolence to the Royal Family. I think sometimes we forget the sage advice of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.
Let’s end on a high, and even better, a high from PR Agency Land. The dashing Rich Leigh of Radioactive PR (for transparency; he is a good friend), announced two drinks nights for the PR industry. No agenda, no networking and very unusually, no sales pitching from any of the sponsors. The London one sold out in 24 hours (more tickets were made available) and the Manchester one is well on the way.
The barometer of success for me is always how many times an industry thing gets mentioned in all the PR WhatsApp groups I am in, and how often I see it floating around on The Twitter. On both counts, it was lots. It feels like it is the event that the PR industry has been waiting for to escape our lockdown blues and it has been great PR for Rich and the team, nice one!
Written by Andy Barr, owner of 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? Abuse and contradictory points welcomed over on The Twitter @10Yetis or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email
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