Good and Bad PR: HSBC, Jeremy Clarkson and Mark Rofe get the best headlines, Amazon gets the worst

Hello there public relations fans, I’m back with another dollop of Good and Bad PR. As we edge towards the so-called “silly season” of news, our darling industry appears to have shaken off all the good will that was flowing during the first lock down. Seen a few nice examples of agency grandees throwing shade at other people’s campaigns and I think the soaring temperatures of the last week have brought out the worst in some of us.

Good PR

Mark Rofe

The PR world will not be suffocated though and I am delighted, and honoured, to hand out the first Good PR award of the week to one of, if not THE most famous of the digital PR brigade (and part-time Christmas-tree salesman), Mark Rofe. Just imagine our industry’s delight when his face was beamed across all of our tele-boxes, courtesy of him being filmed during the England V Czech Republic game wearing a white T-Shirt with three chocolate Lion Bar wrappers stuck to it.

Genius! The walking link-bait machine has done it again. He was trending on The Twitter within minutes and he was the talk of all office staff chats across agency land for days to come. Kudos Mark, you legend! I have heard he is launching a digital PR training course, so keep an eye out for that one.

Bad PR

Amazon

Over to Bad PR and Amazon is never far away from the headlines, good or bad. This week saw it failing to drown out negativity whilst its “Prime” deal days went ahead. The retail monster was hit with two direct negative stories this week and an indirect pop from the BBC as well. The first being a very well-timed ITV exposé on how it deals with stock it can’t shift (turns out it is destroyed, even if it is working and even though a lot of it is earth-damaging electrical items).

The second was the global rise of the #BoycottAmazon hashtag, with every ill the brand has ever been found guilty of, and some it hasn’t, being outed in a format that is super easy for the media to pick up, list and run with. The BBC poke was about the global shortage of cardboard (who knew?) and Amazon was indirectly linked by being the largest customer of the company who makes cardboard. All these little digs have to add up though, right? Maybe.

Amazon needs a fundamental change in the way that it runs its businesses to try and turn around the growing negativity and this may come via the standing aside of its CEO Jeff Bezos. Or, it may carry on not really caring given the vast majority of consumers are happy to shop there despite the wider issues. Either way, I can guarantee that next week will also be full of Amazon stories, good and bad, and the brand will carry on regardless.

Surprising PR

Jeremy Clarkson

Speaking of carrying on regardless, over to everyone’s favourite (maybe not the Patagonia brigade) car-driver-turned-eco-warrior, Jeremy Clarkson. You must have been living under a rock to have not heard that he decided to start working on and running the farm he has owned for a while, but that’s been left in the hands of others until recently. Turns out he is terrible at it, but fortunately for us, an Amazon (there it is again) TV crew were there to film every mishap.

The resulting TV show has been an absolute hit, and wait for it, even with the eco-warriors. He went about things in a very odd way but his passion for wildlife, the animals and trying to do the right thing took everyone (including a columnist at the Guardian) by surprise. It made for amazing television, and the fact it has my kids glued, to what is essentially a documentary about farming and wildlife, speaks volumes about how good it was. Let’s ignore the fact the traffic around his farm shop caused chaos the weekend after the series aired, and just focus on the positive. Clarkson gets good PR… who would have thought it?!

Best PR

HSBC/Shelter

Finally, let’s end on another high. HSBC has joined forces with Shelter to offer a bank account service for people with no fixed address. This is a brilliant move by the bank to try and help a hugely under-represented sector and something that has won it media and social platform plaudits alike. Well done HSBC, great PR and great work.

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