This week, the good guy is Will Carling, but the Conservative Party’s interns policy fails to impress

Good try Will! Impressive bit of publicity for you and Apple. As far as this week’s bad PR award goes, the Conservatives swing it as the party highlights how rich graduates have an unfair advantage.

Good PR of the Week

Good Will Hunting

There’s no question of the fact that the following story was great PR. Whether it was intentional, I have no idea.

Former England rugby captain-turned spy Will Carling was in the headlines this week having apparently tracked down his stolen iPad using Apple’s MobileMe tracking technology, Tweeting the escapade as it unfolded. Carling wasn’t about to let the gadget go having left it on a train, and followed the alleged thief to a block of flats in Wokingham – before noticing that the iPad was en route to the nearby train station.

He sent messages to the iPad to let the carrier know that it was being tracked, and following an apparently friendly chat with the police (the operator was a fan, incidentally), he was told that the device had been handed in at the local police station – all thanks to MobileMe.

Now, Carling seems like an unlikely choice as an Apple brand ambassador – so I’m unsure that Apple would go to all this trouble. Perhaps it was Carling on a bit of a profile-raising mission? If anybody could shed any light on it, let us know below. All I know is that it was a PR win all round.

Is that a pic of Eamonn Holmes or Will Carling? You decide...

Thanks to Emma Theron at Berkeley PR for flagging this up!

Bad PR of the Week

Time should be money

We all know that employers, including within the PR industry, “almost certainly break the law with interns“, mistakenly believing they are allowed to get away without paying them.

We also know that 20 unpaid interns were employed (out of a reported 70 members of staff) by fashion PR agency Modus Publicity following a BBC documentary at the beginning of the month, and now, another agency has become embroiled in a bad spot of publicity that also includes many other prominent companies.

A Conservative fund-raising party – to which members of the media were banned – has ensured that controversy surrounding internships continues. At the event, week-long internships with City hedge funds, a private bank, Tatler magazine and many more companies were auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Lot 10 happened to be a week at former-Thatcher adviser Lord Bell’s PR agency Bell Pottinger – going for £2,000.

Put any party affiliations aside for a second, and you can see how no matter where your allegiance lies, the timing – and exposure – of this is particularly poor.

The spotlight was already on young people and job opportunities in employment following National Apprenticeship Week, and given David Cameron’s efforts to both defend and promote The Big Society concept this week, the Tories could have done without the Mail on Sunday exposé.

Lisa Wisniowski at Stickyeyes remarked that it was a case of the intern debate continuing, whilst Ian Benét of Persuasion PR called it a “very ill judged and insensitive move“. Jo Little of Little Gem Marketing hailed it particularly “bad PR for Cameron’s Big Society”.

In other PR/internship related news – sent to me by Jed Hallam at Wolfstar Consultancy, Stella McCartney’s PR allegedly threatened an unpaid intern with legal action for complaining. Ouch.

Good and Bad PR is a feature on the blog of PR Agency 10 Yetis.

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