Good & Bad PR 4 minute read
Howdy people! Andy Barr is off gallivanting again this week at various PR talks and pitches, so here I am to give you your weekly dose of good and bad PR examples. If, after you have read this week’s instalment, you think I could be worthy of a Twitter mention or follow, you can find me over @ShazzaYeti.
Good PR of the week
OK hands up, how many of you have ever wanted to let out a quiet fart on the tube, only to hold it in just in case it turns out to be the silent, but violent type? Plenty of you, I bet. Some of you probably just risk it, looking around at your carriage mates afterwards as they politely try to cover their noses with their jumpers. Cruel.
Well, now you can trump to your heart’s content all the way home on the Bakerloo Line, thanks to a new creation; flatulence-proof underwear.
Shreddies, as they’ve been called, don’t prevent you from letting rip in the first place, oh no. The breaking of wind still occurs, but the pants contain the stench. Remember the film Thunderpants, where the kid creates some trousers that serve to contain all of his pal’s horrendous farts in a lunch box, to save his embarrassment? Well, Shreddies are kind of like that, but it is the underwear that does the containing.
How do they work? Well, if you’ve ever been around someone with deadly trumps and thought that the only thing that could save you is a gas mask, you aren’t too far off. The thin and flexible cloth used to make Shreddies contains Zorflex, the very same activated carbon material used in chemical warfare suits. The pants can also work time and time again, taking as many farts as you can throw at them, because the carbon is reactivated every time the underwear gets washed.
The brain boxes at Shreddies said that extensive testing showed the flatulence-busting pants are able to filter odours 200 times the strength of the average windy pop.
As well as being useful for baked-bean fans all around the world, there is a serious message the creators are pushing. The award-winning pants are aimed predominantly at sufferers of digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Colitis and those with food intolerances. So, those allergic to wheat who still like their bowl of Shreddies in the morning can just put on their, oh right ... Shreddies.
Some reports even say that Frank Lampard has worn these stink-proof pants and so the secret to his rock-solid relationship with the lovely Christine Bleakley is revealed. They are available for men and women in different styles, so perhaps even Bleakley has a pair too
Bad PR of the week
Not long after Asda dropped its “mental-patient-fancy-dress costume” and Tesco withdrew its “psycho-ward” outfit ahead of Halloween after sparking widespread criticism, Thorpe Park has landed itself in similarly stormy seas.
The theme park’s main Halloween attraction, a horror maze, was given the name 'The Asylum', which immediately conjures up images of long spooky corridors and unstable people in straightjackets. For that reason, Thorpe Park has been accused of “stigmatising mental illness” and hundreds of people have signed a petition against it; with campaigners saying bosses should consider changing the name.
The petition, which has already attracted 900 signatures, was organised by a mental-health nursing student at the University of Salford. Even though The Asylum has been a main attraction at Thorpe Park’s Fright Night event for eight years, concerned members of the public are now saying that having actors chasing people around an asylum stigmatises mental illness and that it isn’t a realistic portrayal of a mental health institution.
Thorpe Park has responded by saying that The Asylum was never intended to be a realistic portrayal of mental illness, but it seems the damage was already done, with people turning to Thorpe Park’s Facebook page to voice their concerns.
However, with a “no-coverage-is-bad-coverage” mind-set, I can’t help thinking how many more people will now know about The Asylum that weren’t previously aware it existed before, all because of this recent story. In fact, they’re probably buying their tickets right now.
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