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Good and Bad PR: Good news for the Tories, happy news from TUI, whilst train companies top bad news headlines

Good PR

Conservative Party

In the world of serious news The Conservative Party dominated the press for its local election victories thanks to strong campaigning and some conveniently timed news headlines on the run up to polling day.

The Bank of England announcing on polling day that it was revising upwards its economic recovery forecast post-Covid certainly would have helped people to think we are on the up under Conservatives. A further “war bounce” would have come from the announcement that British warships were heading off to protect our fishermen from the pesky French on the week of the elections. All in all, the Tories did a great PR job and at the very least, it once again demonstrated how you can ignore the polling of the leftie brigade over on social media sites like Twitter, and maybe also ignore the actions of your controversy-magnet party leader.

Bad PR

West Midlands Trains

Moving on and the rail sector has had a torrid week. Thanks to everyone who sent over the story about West Midlands Trains and the fake bonus email phishing test. For those who missed it… the company’s Monitor Tan brigade (IT department) thought it would be a good idea to send every WMT employee a fake email telling them about a bonus that was due to them for being frontline workers during these Covid times. When the employees clicked on the link in the email they were taken to a page that outlined that it was a fake phishing email that was sent by the company to highlight the dangers of clicking on spam.

Before you could say “have you tried turning it off and on again”, the unions were up in arms, citing the more than valid point that some of its workers will have lost loved ones and this was very odd behaviour by the IT crew. WMT tried to defend itself and botched this by forgetting the PR 101 rule of “Act like a human” and trotted out some painfully corporate line with no hint of an apology. Nothing could stop the swathe of bad publicity and the fact that the first page of Google is now dominated with negativity about the brand.

Elsewhere in the rail sector, Hitachi has run off the tracks because of cracks appearing in one of its models of trains. I first became aware of the story thanks to some wag linking me to the chief executive statement as he happens to also be called Andrew Barr. He is not a relative by the way.

Great Western seems to be the most affected train franchise and it comes after a great deal of work has been done to speed up the connections from the South West and London. The rail minister got involved and the rail franchises were quick to distance themselves from any of this and instead just started demanding compensation. I feel this story would have gone much bigger were it not for most commuters still working from home, but it still got blanket media pick up.

Happy Holiday PR


Let’s end on a high and TUI showed the power of some simple data analysis by revealing that muggles are switching their summer holiday bookings to winter. Makes sense really, but it just goes to show how the simple things are always the stories that do really well.

It gave the newsjacking gang a story to bite on and was swiftly followed by the Spanish government tourism minister announcing that they may well let us Brits in with no need to show a Covid jab passport, depending on our country’s positive ratio continuing to drop. The Spanish announcement alone garnered the Red Top headlines thick and fast so, all in all, a strong week for the much-maligned global travel industry.

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 on email

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