It’s good PR for Lady Gaga and Metro International but bad PR for Blackberry’s new Playbook

Good PR of the week

Metro goes Gaga

Nobody can deny Lady Gaga’s ability to dominate the media. Frankly, I’d love to PR her, and that’s not a euphemism.

At just 25, the entertainer has taken the oft-used “I’m mad, me!” plea for attention and run with it preaching individuality, sexual orientation acceptance, equality, human and animal rights and all other kinds of sanctimonious soundbite-conscious guff in a bid to claw her way to the top.

Fresh from arriving in a gold coffin with a “fake pregnant belly’” to headline Radio One’s Big Weekend, everybody’s favourite meat-dress-wearing singer/songwriter topped up her PR juice this week by guest-editing at global freesheet Metro International from its London office.

With her Born This Way album out next week, Gaga’s publicity machine will be in overdrive.

Madonna 2.0, as I like to think of her, led an editorial meeting which involved discussions about transgender issues and the Japan earthquake, before finding the time to write a letter from the desk of the editor.

Metro International, not to be confused with Associated Newspapers’ Metro, reaches a global audience of nearly 40 million weekly readers, with editions in 18 countries (but not in the UK). Media outlet publicity has always fascinated me – the obvious barriers to being featured in other media makes getting awareness for titles an even tougher job than normal, but this tie-in and subsequent coverage for it is sure to please shareholders.

Ain’t no mountain high enough

Exactly 100 years ago this week, a Model T Ford was driven to the summit of Ben Nevis in a publicity stunt intended to promote the car to Brits, carried out by an Edinburgh car dealer.

To commemorate it, as part of a week of festivities in and around Fort William, organised by the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain (whose Christmas parties are sheer carnage, I’m told), the stunt was recreated. Well, as much as elf and safety would allow, anyway.

A Model T Ford was driven approximately midway up the British Isles’ tallest mountain – as health and safety laws now prevent the car being driven the full ascent – and reassembled at the top.

The stunt, which was reliant on volunteers offering to carry dismantled parts just more than 2,000 feet to the summit, is being carried out by Ye Olde Ford expert Neil Tuckett, owner of the Tuckett Brothers and friend Jamie Davidson.

The effort has had some great coverage, proving positive for both Ford, which must love the inadvertent PR and the Tuckett Brothers. Ahhh, the oldies are the best, aren’t they?

Bad PR of the week

RIM job made tougher by plummeting share prices

Research In Motion shares neared a two-year low this week after the BlackBerry maker said it had recalled about 1,000 of its iPad-rivalling PlayBook tablets due to system flaws.

Shares have lost a quarter of their value this year, a fact that compounds the poor product reviews the device has so far had, with RIM expected to ship just 3m units – a fifth of the units Apple shipped in a similar period last year.

From a media perspective, it’s tough to help your brand recover when it seems to be tying the knot for its own noose, but things will recover for RIM provided the PR team is proactive in getting positive messages out there – and transparent about exactly why it has had to recall.

It’s hard not to imagine some of the press negativity will be from Apple-loving journalists who are, perhaps unconsciously, as likely to want to promote the PlayBook as Roadrunner is to invite Wile E Coyote over for dinner. RIM definitely has a battle on its hands to improve public perception of what many will just think of as an iPad copy.

The Telegraph got it Wonga

We all know slagging off media outlets is never a good idea for a PRO – but the fact that Spotify was announced as the winner of The Telegraph’s inaugural Startup 100 Awards, but didn’t actually win, can’t go unspoken about.

For a full description of exactly what happened, you should read judge Mike Butcher’s article here on TechCrunch, which states that for reasons of not wanting to back a potentially controversial winner, the powers that be at The Telegraph decided against awarding actual winner Wonga the accolade.


Have you seen any Good or Bad PR? Contact Rich Leigh with it by emailing or by tweeting @GoodandBadPR throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.

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

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