PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

Good and Bad PR: A back step for the Government, a leap into space for William Shatner

As we continue the race to the end of 2021, take my hand and join me as I take a gander through this week’s Good and Bad PR.

Bad PR

The Government

The Government leads the way on the Bad PR front thanks to a cross-party MPs’ report into its handling of the Covid crisis. There is no doubt that the report was not as bad as had been anticipated and this is evidenced by Number 10 not putting out anything to try and deflect the report being released.

There was praise for the vaccination roll out, but brickbats for the scientist-driven original plan to go down the herd immunity route. The silence from Downing Street in response to the report was deafening, but nowhere near as bad as the Government’s decision to not let the Cabinet members it put up for interviews to apologise for anything. With millions of lives affected by the pandemic, our politicians appearing human-like would not have been so bad, would it?

Keir Starmer

Another political related Bad PR, but for a far more light-hearted reason, goes to whichever Labour PR advisor thought it would be good idea to put Sir Keir Starmer in a HGV for a photo opp. He stoved the lorry into a fence, got a pithy one-liner from the driving instructor and presented the Conservative Party with a golden PR opportunity for years to come. “All we want is a credible opposition”, the muggles cry.

The Hut Group

Someone else who scored an own-goal this week is the CEO of The Hut Group, Matt Moulding. The company decided to do an Investor-Call to calm City fears (if you have never experienced one, they are hugely painful, like one of the awkward all-staff chats we have to do, but with more aggression and pleading).

As you can guess, by the story featuring in this very column, it didn’t go well. It didn’t go so well in fact that it wiped £1.9bn from the company’s value. Ouch. It left some analysts citing a lack of transparency about its new retail platform and other suggesting it was now a “sell” on the share price front. Back to the drawing board for the comms team on how to win the city back.

Premier League bosses and Newcastle United Football Club

One final mention for Bad PR goes to the Premier League bosses and Newcastle United Football Club. Newcastle this week confirmed the sale of the club to; Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The fund is headed up by the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, the same guy who US Intelligence claims ordered the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. I don’t know about other football fans, but you must hold you head in despair that things like this are allowed to happen.

Good PR

Matt Ellis, pub crawler extraordinaire

Let’s move on to something far more British and far more positive. We Brits now have the Guinness World Record holder for… Pub Crawls. Wine merchant, Matt Ellis visited 51 pubs in 24 hours to bring home the title.

Matt was even able to do interviews after completing the challenge, but he did reveal that he mostly drank orange juice and soft drinks in each of the pubs. Bit of a let-down that last bit if I am honest. Still, great PR for Matt!

Environment Agency

On a far more serious Good PR related note, the Environment Agency went all Shock and Awe with its latest report into the potential impact of climate change. The headlines were plastered with “adapt or die” courtesy of a quote from the chair of the EA, Emma Howard Boyd.

Any publicity that helps us take the situation more seriously is good in my book and this shook off the current, sleepy, nicely does it image of the Environment Agency that many people have.

William Shatner

AND FINALLY… Great PR for Star Trek Superstar William Shatner and Bezos’s space hobby this week as Captain Kirk is finally getting fired up to space. 

Incidentally, my dad once told me that, had he not been drunk, I too would have been shot into space. Sorry, a very old, very disgusting, very plagiarised, joke.

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

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: