Good and Bad PR: We celebrate Airbnb for banning parties and National Grid for helping to cut bills

Just so you all know, I am still waiting for one of you amazing PR lot to give the UK the uplifting story that takes the country out of its current petrol, cost-of-living and inept-government, fog. In the meantime, join me as I take a gander through this week’s Good and Bad public relations.

Good PR

Airbnb

Let’s lead with some Good PR and Airbnb has well and truly shrugged off the very false and clearly made-up Philadelphia camera story by peppering Google SERPs with a fantastically positive story. The holiday rental giant has announced that, after a successful trial during Covid, it is going to continue its blanket ban on homes being used for parties.

What began as a way to ensure people were not getting around the social distancing and household bubble rules has resulted in a 40% reduction in complaints being made against holiday renters who have secretly been hosting bashes. The company has, rightly, now extended the rule for the foreseeable future and the global media, led first by the BBC, has loved the story. Now that is how you bury a recent bad news story in Google! Brilliant work by the Airbnb communications team.

Coal mining

Another Good PR news story this week fell upon the oft-maligned UK coal-mining industry. After years of being heralded as one of the prime industries responsible for ruining the planet, coal mining companies are now being presented as the potential saviours of the energy crisis brought on by the energy threats being made by Russia.

The UK government is fast tracking changes to the rules around emissions and several of the mines are being asked to stay open for longer in order to reduce the load on other energy sources. Before the Welsh start singing with celebration, this could well be a very short-term solution and if the war in Ukraine ends and wholesale energy prices balance out again, I am sure the coal industry will be shunned once more.

That being said, Germany is leading the way in reopening a number of its currently moth-balled coal mines and if the energy crisis continues, it may not be long before the UK follows suit.

National Grid

Sticking with energy related Good PR and National Grid won a number of positive write ups with the news that it may soon start paying families (or at least reducing their ‘leccy bills) if they move to using their most electricity-draining products during off-peak times.

That’s right, as long as your family doesn’t mind moving their traditional Sunday dinner feast to being cooked and eaten 3am on a Monday morning, you can save some money. I jest, but it is actually a really smart move and clever way to save some money (not eating at 3am!).

This story presents itself against a backdrop of a very real threat of power shortages and blackouts this year, due to the panic caused by the Russian energy withdrawal plans. The National Grid ran a successful pilot scheme with Octopus Energy customers in early 2022 where they were asked to reduce their electricity consumption between 4.30-6.30pm and the costs savings for consumers ranged from 24p through to £4. The announcement has been well received by consumers and money saving watchdogs alike.

UK Government

Speaking of potential cost savings of essential products and Downing Street (shock horror) took all the credit this week for getting together all the major UK broadband providers and thumb-screwing them into committing to reducing their prices for people experiencing financial difficulties.

I suspect that the good folk of Ofcom had more to do with this than the press announcement would suggest, but the end result is brilliant, especially around allowing people who are struggling to pay their bills the ability to switch to a lower tariff penalty free.

Nadine Dorries basked in the positive headlines of this announcement and we can only hope that it triggers another one of her amazing TikTok videos to celebrate.

Bad PR

Social media platforms

I am going to end on some indirect Bad PR, and I think it falls collectively on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. A very strange report came out this week from a doctor associated with a plastic surgery group called Signature Clinics. The story is Good PR for Signature Clinics brand awareness, but bad for social media platforms.

The surgeon says that almost 50% of the breast reduction procedures that he has carried out on men have been caused by them taking performance enhancing drugs and steroid abuse. The blame for why men are increasingly feeling the need to do this can, according to a BBC report in April, be placed at the door of social media platforms and reality TV shows who are creating body dysmorphia and accidentally encouraging steroid abuse.

It is clear that the social platforms and reality TV shows need to do more to try and play down unrealistic body types, but consumers are still demonstrating their desire to see more of this, it as such it going to be hard to address the issue. Where has all the dad-bod love gone I say?

Got it right or wrong, you know where to find me.

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

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