Good and Bad PR: Morrisons, lockdown art and a smarter mask make us smile

Greetings all, how are we all doing and feeling this week? I certainly hope you all ignored Blue Monday this year and instead treating yourself to something that made you happy and distracted you from the fact we’re still in January and looking at least another three weeks of lockdown.

The headlines this week have showcased a plethora of both good and bad news, with some of the most notable highlighted below.

Good PR

Morrisons
Following the news last week concerning the shockingly little amount of food being sent to vulnerable British families who were meant to be receiving £30 food parcels during lockdown and whilst home schooling, supermarket chain Morrisons has this week announced the launch of a new food box designed to feed a family of four for £30 – and there is a lot of food included!

Alongside simple recipe cards for five meals that work out to just £1.50 per portion, Morrisons is also offering a 5% discount to anyone who signs up for a subscription, meaning meals for five nights will set you back just £28.50 – ideal for any households looking to budget and watch their spending when it comes to unnecessary food waste. With a versatile meal offering – including spaghetti and meatballs, chili con carne, vegetable curry and a cheese, leek and mushroom pie – the box is sure to appeal to those with all kinds of food preferences, and as the boxes contain full retail-sized packs of ingredients, customers will likely have plenty of leftovers for lunches the next day or easy weekend snacks.

Boxes are available across the UK and are offered with free delivery – perfect for anyone needing to shield or self-isolate in the current climate. Bravo Morrisons!

Rob Sweeney
After spotting this story on the BBC website earlier in the week, I had to share it with you.

Despite the heartache and upset everyone had to deal with last year as we faced the start and onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, one artist from Guernsey made a personal agreement to paint ‘whatever happened’ through the course of last year – and he remarkably stuck to his work.

Rob Sweeney spent around two hours each day completing a watercolour painting something that had inspired him, and did so alongside a full-time job as an art teacher. He tells the BBC that he felt it was important to capture the ‘quirky moments’ of 2020, amongst the seriousness of it all, and that people had been in touch to let him know that seeing his paintings uploaded online each day had helped them to cope with the ongoing difficulties associated with the pandemic.

A smarter mask
Since the start of the pandemic last March, the debate surrounding face masks has posed a huge number of questions that experts have struggled to answer. How well they work at preventing the spread of the virus? Which material is best? Who should legally be allowed to stay exempt from wearing them? The list is seemingly endless.

One story from this week that caught my eye focuses on a London-based company that has launched one of the first products with a molecular technology that centres on titanium dioxide (Ti02) – which has virucidal properties widely used in dental implants, which can kill germs and be re-used by wearers up to 1,000 times.

The Invisi-Smart Mask looks and feels like an ordinary surgical mask, but tests carried out on it showed it destroyed an artificial version of the virus that causes Covid-19. It is hoped by the team behind the product that doctors and nurses will find it beneficial whilst working on the front line, although with so many NHS workers used to single-use masks, the question of whether they can adapt to the new premise remains to be seen.

Bad PR

Superdry
This week it’s emerged that fashion brand Superdry, which once held a very special place in the hearts of UK teenagers trying desperately to look as cool as possible (myself included), is at risk of financial collapse due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fashion chain, which has seen 70% of its stores close and was in the middle of a turnaround plan to reinvigorate the brand when the pandemic began, is reporting a sharp drop in sales and reported a pre-tax loss of £18.9m this year, compared with £4.2m a year earlier.

Julian Dunkerton, the founder of Superdry, stated that the company continues to focus on its ‘reset’, but that with such a large majority of outlets still closed, it will take time to see the benefits of all the hard work put in.

Eurostar
A 95% drop in passenger numbers due to travel restrictions and stay at home orders has left Eurostar facing a threat to its survival, with business leaders now pleading for the government to step in and save our vital link with the EU.

A statement released by Eurostar said that without additional funding from the government, there is a real risk to survival of Eurostar, and that the current situation is extremely serious. Many are even predicting that the company will run out of funds to operate the service in and out of London St Pancras, as the number of international tourists using the service is likely to remain extremely low until at least the spring.

This is bleak news for the service, which was planning to introduce direct trains from London to Amsterdam before the pandemic began and employs 1,200 British workers. Let’s hope this doesn’t signal the beginning of the end for such a much-loved and needed connection to our neighbours in France.

Written by Lauren Wilden, head of PR at 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email


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