Well hello there PR fans and welcome along to this week’s merry romp through the world of public relations. I am sick of having to type: “It’s been another bad week for the Conservatives”, but it has. This week took a sinister new turn with several of the Tory supporting papers starting to carry murmurings of growing support for BoJo coming back, surely not. Never say never I say.
Google gets the first Good PR of the week for allowing BBC tech editor Zoe Kleinman to have a short, very tightly controlled, play with its much spoken about chat bot, Google LaMDA This is the very same bot that a rogue Google engineer basically said was developing sentient behaviours.
Remember Lamda, the AI that the Google engineer was convinced was sentient?— Zoe Kleinman (@zsk) October 19, 2022
I got the teeniest glimpse of it yesterday - and now you can too https://t.co/QKiji77Yrx
Given the furore around LaMDA and what it can and can’t do, it was very brave of Google to allow such a high-profile tech outlet to have a play. The result; well it was positively received by Kleinman, but it is clear that the BBC wants a much more “off the leash” test. It is safe to say, from the tone and style of the coverage, that LaMDA is going to be the future of chat bot technology.
Whilst Google got the first slice of Good PR, Meta and TikTok get the first dollop of Bad PR.
Meta has been told to sell Giphy by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority(CMA). Meta had bought Giphy (the short, animated gif library) in 2020 and after an investigation by the CMA of the sale and the potential consequences to wider social platforms like Snapchat, the competition gods declared the sale should be blocked.
Facebook (anyone remember Facebook? The name before operation “rebrand to succeed”) as was, said no and was fined £50.5m for refusing. The legal dispute has rumbled on and now the CMA has declared itself the winner and that its decision is final. Whilst it is not good news for Meta, it is actually good PR for the CMA and shows that it means business and has real global impact.
TikTok gets Bad PR for its somewhat tawdry announcement that it is soon to be allowing adult-only options for live broadcasts. Whilst this is being dressed up as a child protection and safety feature, I think we can all see where this is going and TikTok will eventually be looking to take a chunk of the OnlyFans market.
The global media all came to the same OnlyFans conclusion and I think I can safely say this was not an example of Good PR.
Good, old PR
Age Co (part of Age UK) got a swathe of positive coverage this week around older drivers having not revisited or in some cases ever read the Highway Code. The story went on to say that only one in ten drivers would have the required knowledge to pass the theory test if they had to take it today.
As everyone in PR land loves to see, the story got syndicated around the regional circuits and the Age Co team deserve huge praise for such a big win.
Celebrity Bad PR
Going back to Bad PR and everyone’s favourite celebrity villain (although I am not sure why) James Corden, got another battering across the media and social media. This time it was for being rude to restaurant staff twice, on separate occasions, at the same restaurant. The owner outed him on social media and announced that Corden was banned.
James Corden has been banned from an NYC restaurant after owner Keith McNally accused him of being “extremely nasty” to his staff on multiple occasions:— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) October 17, 2022
“[He was] the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago.” pic.twitter.com/ZF8tIEH9cu
A few hours later, everyone had kissed and made up, but not before the world and his dog trotted out their own story about Corden allegedly being rude or mean to them. And, here is mine.
He once added a bottle of red wine to my bar bill at a hotel. I actually found it funny, mainly because he told me (I thought jokingly) that he was going to do it as I left the bar (he overheard my bar tab number) and he ruddy well did. Kudos, I would have done the same. I bare him no ill-will and instead applaud his gusto.
Got it right or wrong, you know what to do.
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
If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our twice weekly event and subscriber alerts.
Currently, every new subscriber will receive three of our favourite reports about the public relations sector.