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Good and Bad PR: Boris gets us down, but Viagra lifts us back up again

Christmas is a time for giving and forgiving, not when it comes to politics though and Boris can’t have had a much worse a week in his history than this week. Welcome to Good and Bad PR, Bozza style.

Bad PR

Boris Johnson and Party Gate

I gloss over many a Bad PR political story, just because there are so many every week, but Party Gate is too big to ignore and has so many interesting facets. The first thing to note is that someone somewhere has sat on the press secretary press-conference training video for over a year before releasing it. If one was to ask everyone who could possibly have a grudge against the PM to raise their hands, there would be more hands in the air than at a Steps, Covid-rife, concert.

As someone who has experienced working inside political comms machines, I can see that the only “wiggle room” (the phrase used in political terms for how one may escape from a scandal) is to position the video as the PR person just “having a joke”. Hey presto, “it was just a joke” now seems to be the line.

The third element to this story is that some journalists attended this “cheese and wine business meeting”, so this calls into question the “them and us” now spreading down to elite-level, select, media outlets. Is this anything new? Not really, especially to us in the industry, but to the muggles it once again calls into question the level of trust that they put in the media, as a whole, and this is not good for any of us.

This is a fast moving story and at the time of writing it was bubbling nicely a towards a Prime Minister’s Question Time boiling point. Could this be the scandal that topples Bozza, unlikely, but it could well be that inflicts a power-threatening blow.

Good PR


Speaking of surviving against all the odds, erection building and maintenance specialists, Viagra, has risen to challenge of winning the first Good PR of the week. This is thanks to the globally-reported-on news that taking one of the little blue pills may prevent users from developing Alzheimer’s.

The findings came from US-based scientists in Cleveland and whilst there is no mention that the makers of Viagra in any way funded the research, I would wage you one of the Queen’s One Pound coins that the PR had a hand in blowing the story up. I’m out of double-entendre’s, well done Team Viagra.

Terrible PR

Vishal Garg

Back to bad PR and Vishal Garg from mortgage provider hit all the headlines this week, for all the wrong reasons. You know those god-awful all-staff Zooms we must do, well, he led one with 900 employees where he announced they were getting fired.

This is one of those longer-term grey-area Bad PR situations. What he did was hugely wrong, but the resulting media coverage, and associated links back to his company from write ups from the global media, will in-fact help rank higher in search engines. Never forget you cannot polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

Ending on positive news


Instagram rounded off an over-all, positive year with another strong move to try and help addicted users by introducing the “take a break” feature. You can guess what it does and how it works, but from a PR perspective it helped the meta brand move away from the negative connotations of using its platform. The head person at Insta announced this alongside some other innovations such as preventing users from tagging people in comments who they are not following and also “nudging” teens towards new topics if they have spending too much time on one genre or area.

Nice one InstaMeta.

China National Space Administration

I have yet to see a newsjacking response to the next Good PR, but I am sure them digital PR types will be all over this. The China National Space Administration claim it has found a “hut” on the moon. The media across the world (and possibly wider) have loved the story and are watching to see what happens as the Chinese announced that they have sent their lunar rover in the direction of the hut shape to see what it is all about.

Could they find The Hut Group’s Matt Moulding in there after his tough year? Could it contain Boris’s escape plan, or maybe it is just an elaborate PR stunt by Pizza Hut? Who knows, but I for one am gripped.

Pudding Pot Lids

Finally, middle-class pudding fans across the UK let out a squeal of delight this week as a British company has announced that it has created a bamboo lid for the one million glass Gu pots that are being kept “just in case” in kitchen cupboards across the nation!, we salute you (not a client by the way, just a massive fan of their idea).

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 on email

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