Good and Bad PR: Meghan/Harry vs Royals, who wins the Good PR award? Obvs Piers Morgan wins Bad PR

Morning to all you media luvvies. Here I am again, handing out more industry judgement than a Slimming World rep outside a cake shop the hour after weigh-in. This week’s column is all about the battle of the media bands!

Amazing PR
On one side we had Team MegArry, on the other Team ITV, and plonked right in the middle was Team Morgan. MegArry came out top as the winners of Good PR of the week. Team ITV receive the honour of mid-table obscurity, but also Good PR, with its own wins (swiftly chopping Piers Morgan and also getting the kind of ratings boost that only rare royal/ex-royal appearances can give). At the bottom of the pile is Team Morgan, who unsurprisingly scoops Bad PR.

One notable absentee from my initial outburst in this week’s column is obviously The Royals. As is often the case, they tried to rise above it all, firing out a short and pithy statement that got the point over, with just a hint of menace and a dollop of “watch this space”.

Clearly, I don’t know who is right, who is wrong, who has been told the known knowns and who has access to the unknown knowns, but the Royal Family probably just about nudged into the Good PR category for its measured and dignified reaction. That’s being said, the fast-paced nature of the media could result in them being out of the Palace by Monday and working in the closest Wetherspoons to Windsor by 12 April.

When the dust settles, I expect the wider fallout to be Morgan securing his suspected new slot on GB News, MegArry being offered an “Escape to the Chateau”-esque reality TV deal, and ITV delivering far better financial results in the coming year. This will come down to winning the rights to screen the whole saga, plus the positive city reaction to acting decisively to get rid of a “non-aligned” brand personality.

Bad PR

Ant Middleton
Shame this all happened a week too late to bury the bad news for real-life action man Ant Middleton, who has been left in media purgatory thanks to his fall-out with Channel 4. Middleton was dropped from programme SAS: Who Dares Wins due to his off-screen conduct, which allegedly included making inappropriate comments. 

Middleton afterwards said "life can be brutal" in a rather rambling post on Instagram.

Good PR

Boris Johnson
Speaking of batshit ways to try and bury bad news, what better way to try and distract from a ridiculed track-and-trace system, a falling out with your science advisors who are trying to prevent, you know, the death of the people you stand for, and serious questions being asked about your general handling of a pandemic than by announcing a hair-brained building scheme is one step closer to actually happening. Step forward Boris and his Tunnel of Love (name trademarked by myself).

His plan to build a tunnel between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland has officially been moved to the “feasibility” stage by the man that BoJo has entrusted to review the UKs transport links, Sir Peter Hendy. Sir Pete revealed in a hugely discrete way to the likes of the very secretive Daily Telegraph that he had commissioned two construction firms to “discretely” look into that chance of the plans becoming a reality.

The national media ignored the discretion element and duly plastered the news everywhere, complete with pictures of Boris and Sir Pete looking wistfully at a map of the UK. Despite their best efforts, a long lens pap must have been nearby because the map pics were duly syndicated around. Can’t keep anything secret nowadays. Still, in terms of a tactic to help quell the masses and distract from Covid, it did the trick for a day, so it must go down as a Good PR win for Boris.

Russia and China
I am going to end on an unlikely partnership for Good PR this week, Russia and China. I don’t know about you, but I thought Roscosmos was a nightclub in Darlington. As it turns out it is actually the Russian version of NASA (admittedly with a higher Scrabble points value). Roscosmos has announced it will team up with China’s National Space Administration – the NSA (yes, I know, I also feel a letter is missing here as well!) to build an “international lunar scientific research station”. In their own words this will either be; on the moon, near the moon, or orbiting the moon, they have not quite decided yet, but the moon will 100% be involved.

No dates have been set for completion, but I would hazard a guess that the soft deadline is approximately one hour before the US plans to return to the moon, on an unnamed date in its own target year 2024. Kudos to Team RusChi for winning a large swathe of positive PR hits on the back of this announcement.

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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