Good and Bad PR: Stonehenge rocks this week, but RMT fails to move us

Hopefully this week’s column represents a light-hearted distraction from the dark news that has dominated over the last week. Please don’t think that I am ignoring the war or trying to play down the serious nature of what is going on, I just feel that this column tries to look at the funny and weird stuff that goes on in the world of PR and reporting on war propaganda is way above my pay grade.

Without further ado let’s move on to the Good and Bad PR of the week.

Good PR

Stonehenge

Stonehenge gets the first Good PR of the week thanks to its upgrade from being a beautifully laid out pile of rocks to now being identified as an olden days calendar, of sorts. Professor Timothy Darvill said that the layout of the rocks represents an ancient “tropical solar” calendar of 365 and a quarter days per year. Mystery cleared up, the Druids can stand down, all sorted.

Interestingly, none of the media that I read relating to this story said where Professor Darvill came from so there may still be opportunities for further working theories to gain credence but, for now, he has had the best idea so he is declared the winner.

Good and Bad PR

Noble false widow spider

The first ever winner of both Good and Bad PR goes to the noble false widow spider. Regular readers may remember that these UK-based-bitey-bad boys won Bad PR in this very column some time ago for shutting down schools courtesy of an infestation.

Fed up of being out of the limelight, they are back, and this time they mean business. A animal botherer called Ben Waddams discovered that the web slingers had caught and eaten a bat (no really) in the grounds of his home in Shropshire. A university wrote it up and sent it off to scientific journal and now we in the UK have ourselves some bat-eating spiders.

Good PR for spiders because they are now reducing the numbers of the UK’s second most feared beasty after themselves and Bad PR because, well, we don’t really need a meat-eating spider in the UK thanks very much.

Bad PR

RMT union

The RMT got all the bad headlines once again with regards to the tube strike but in my experience of having worked in several unionised industries, it won’t care. As ever, the comms from the union was poor and Transport for London was able to get its point across far more effectively about the negative impact the strikes were having and at a time when the UK economy is trying to recover from Covid.

The media stuck to its traditional core values with the BBC and Guardian trying to support the strikers via a less aggressive tone whilst the Mail and the Telegraph went hell for leather after the trade union. The real losers were the business commuters who have only just returned to working from their offices only to find their journeys had become even more difficult than before.

888

Next up for Bad PR is gambling company 888 which received a £9.4m fine from the Gambling Commission for its lackadaisical approach to checking if its punters could afford the bets they were placing and understanding where punters were getting their money from.

To be fair to 888, it held its hands up, made the right noises via a crisis communications plan and came out of it looking like one of the more respectable gambling companies out there. This probably doesn’t say a lot about the rest of the industry, but it did vastly reduce the media coverage around this story.

With Bet Victor getting a £2m fine the week before 888 did, it does show how the Gambling Commission is taking the fight to the companies, so kudos for that smart PR move.

Ending on a good note

New Soho Tavern in Birmingham

Talking about fighting back, the New Soho Tavern in Birmingham fought back against online review sites and whinging customers and wins my final Good PR of the week. When a disgruntled muggle complained about the food, toilets and staff and yet still went back time and time again, the owner called them out for it and the media loved it.

The owner does have a point, why moan and still go back? The muggle was politely told to do one and never darken the doorway again and a whole host Trip Advisor hating publicans raised a pint to the New Soho Tavern bosses. We love an underdog victory story, what a way to end the week.

Got it right or wrong, you know what to do.

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

Stonehenge image courtesy of: English Heritage

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