IBM impresses with its PR as much as its programming, Foursquare brings HISTORY to life, but the earthquake in Christchurch caught Expedia napping

IBM impresses with its PR as much as its programming, Foursquare brings HISTORY to life, but the earthquake in Christchurch caught Expedia napping.  When IBM’s computer Watson beat US quiz show champions, thousands of news articles and 9 million daily viewers highlight that IBM is a genius at PR.

Good PR

Elementary for IBM’s Watson

Last week, an IBM-engineered computer (Watson) captured the attention of the media as it competed – and won – against two human trivia champions on American quiz show Jeopardy.
The win has definitely got people talking about IBM’s “genius” programming ability, but I’m more impressed by its PR and marketing ability, in all honesty. Watson and other IBM projects will move on to help improve health care delivery – which will no doubt be an even bigger story based on the fact IBM was able to relate what is quite a technical story to something the Average Joe can enjoy.

Thanks to Alan Twigg of 77PR for sending it through.

Foursquare makes HISTORY with new tie-in

A new partnership between location-based check-in service Foursquare and HISTORY (formerly the History Channel) has really impressed this last week, following a launch event detailing what is a simple, yet effective, pairing.

To summarise, when Foursquare users check in to one of more than 600 sites across London, they will now be able to see historical tips about their locations. The partnership is great PR for both parties – apparently initiated by HISTORY as part of a brand direction change.
HISTORY is “trying to reposition to focus on a younger and more tech-savvy audience“, according to Paul Sutton, head of social communications at Bottle PR – who handled the launch – and although it’ll have its work cut out, I think this is a big step in the right direction. Check out the full list of historical facts on HISTORY’s Foursquare page.


Thanks to Sharon Chan at Consolidated PR for emailing with this one.

Bad PR

Short of giving it to Gadaffi, which a few of you did email with (you rascals), this week’s been a tough one for finding bad PR. Honestly, it probably is the media emphasis on the more serious issues making it tougher this week to find brand-related fudges.

Timing is everything for Expedia

With the Christchurch earthquake dominating headlines and news bulletins, it was only a matter of time before somebody – as they always do – said or did something stupid in relation to it – what I now like to call a “Kenneth Cole“.

Travel brand Expedia rather stupidly allowed an automated email to go out promoting cheap New Zealand holidays to its Australian database – illustrating the offer with a large image of Christchurch Cathedral’s spire ... despite the fact it was destroyed in the earthquake the day the email was sent out. I know, the email was automated, and Expedia has since apologised (as did Cole) but it’s a case of the PR left entirely failing to meet the right – resulting in hundreds of articles detailing the blunder – and should serve as a warning to all other travel companies. But probably won’t.

Thanks to Lana Clements from More Than Insurance’s PR team for this one.

As always, please email me (Rich Leigh) or tweet me @GoodandBadPR with examples of Good or Bad PR, at any time. 

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

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