Personalised soups show a can-do approach to PR, but BlackBerry looks a fool

Good PR of the week

Sickiez meanz Heinz

The clever guys at We Are Social have pulled together an impressive Facebook campaign, allowing fans the opportunity to buy a personalised can of Heinz Soup to “cheer up a friend who’s feeling under the weather".

All throughout October, people that “like” the Heinz Soup Facebook page can choose their soup variety using a bespoke app, input a friend’s name and pay £1.99 to have the can delivered to their diseased friend.

The Telegraph’s Harry Wallop (voted the "Least Twattish Twitterer" in my agency’s cheeky awards scheme last year, The CRAPPs), Tweeted about the campaign, having been sent a tin:

All in all, a slick effort, with a nice visual element to it. Thanks to Sharon Chan of Mindshare Invention for emailing with it.

Like male models with their tops off, much?

I’ll say little more than this: if you like watching male models laze around nonchalantly – oh yeah, with their tops off – you’ll like this video describing the importance of checking for breast cancer launched to promote a new app.


Cheers to Vodafone communications manager Mark Detre for Tweeting me with it.

Bad PR

BlackBerry crumbles

If you work in PR, chances are, you are anatomically dissimilar to the rest of the world’s population. Allow me to explain.

Right where your arm joins to your hand and your hand joins to your fingers – there, at the point where your distal phalange should end, you will, in probability, be the owner of a technological extension to your person – the cause of the majority of your familial arguments and headaches.

That’s right PR folks; I’m talking about that part of your body leading physiologists refer to as your "smartphone". Now, what if, the most popular professional smartphone of them all had a huge network outage – right when another popular manufacturer had announced a new handset? And what if, instead of reassuring the public by proactively putting spokespeople up for interviews and keeping customers up to date using any available social media, it took 36 hours give the world anything close to an explanation?

Well, you don’t have to wonder "what if", dear readers – this tale of woe is as true as Jodie Marsh is now sinewy.

The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones has given a pretty good timeline of events here, so I won’t parrot what you can see there, but to say that BlackBerry – made by manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) – has had a bit of a PR nightmare with its outage is an understatement. That’s not to say its PR team hasn’t been working overtime – it undoubtedly has, as a few journalists have said they were happy with messaging coming out of RIM HQ – but I’d be surprised if you could find me a Joe Bloggs customer who could explain the situation and that’s who good PR inevitably needs to reach.

Thanks to Elerine Greeff, Mark Detre, internal comms manager at Vodafone (twice this week!), Dave Harrison of Search Laboratory, Melissa Mackenzie, Kelly Davies Jane Rogers, the guys at MAW Communications, and Chris Hurdiss for Tweeting with this.

Facebook boycott forces photo policy U-turn

When a dad took a couple of pictures of his 4-year-old daughter playing in Braehead Shopping Centre, near Glasgow, I bet he never thought he’d be apprehended by a security guard, telling him that it was illegal to take pictures in the centre and that he’d have to delete them immediately. I’d also bet that he was surprised when the police, one of whom was "intimidating", were called – and even more so when his story made national news.

After his brush with the law, when an officer apparently said he had the right to confiscate the father's phone under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 45-year-old Chris White took to Facebook to set up a “Boycott Braehead” community page.

The page is now "liked" by more than 24,000 people (in comparison to the main Breahead Shopping Centre Facebook page, which is "liked" by 5,000 and was the centre of some controversy when posts "disappeared" and were apparently being reinstated – something that I nor anybody I’ve spoken to was previously aware was doable).

Breahead has now changed its policies with regards to people taking pictures in the centre, apologising to Mr White in the same statement.

The affair has played out very publicly, with Braehead’s management company Capital Shopping Centres given a crash-course in crisis communication.

Have you seen any Good or Bad PR?

Contact PR Rich Leigh with it by tweeting him @GoodandBadPR or by emailing 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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