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Good and Bad PR: Cool moves by Gymshark, CMA and John Lewis, uncool PR moves by Omid Scobie and Sky

Here we go then, back in the hot seat of Good and Bad PR. It feels like it has been fairly bleak week in the UK news agenda, but then again, I could apply that to the entire year to date.

Still, at least 90% of the UK appears to have put their Christmas decorations up early. That is surely Bad PR in itself?

Good PR


Let’s start on a positive to try and lift our spirits. Gymshark, tried to rise itself above the usual Black Friday sales noise with a really strong social-PR activation that leaked across into the mainstream media.

Let me just say that I love that Gymshark stayed true to its social media roots (don’t forget that it launched using gym-fluencers) and launched this stunt on Instagram. It gave fake, but real-looking parking tickets to people parked near gyms.

Inside the parking ticket was a £50 voucher for the clothing giant. The associated video had lots of muggles initially getting mad and then smiling.

I am not sure I would mess with the inhabitants of most gyms, but I admire the pluck of the fake parking attendant for carrying out their role and I also admire the 1.7m views that the video received. Cutting out the mainstream media and still doing well, who would have thought it. Great PR for Gymshark.

Competition and Markets Authority

It has not been all plain sailing for big brands this week though. Good PR again for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this week. It has outed that three in four of the big brand companies that make baked beans, baby formula, mayo and pet food (odd combination but stick with me) have spiked their prices faster than their actual costs during the cost-of-living-crisis.

This is shocking behaviour by the big brands. No one brand has been mentioned, but we all know who it is and the CMA will hope that firing these warning shots will get the prices down. The mention of baby food really jumps out as a shocking tactic by the food brands, and they should be ashamed of themselves. Good PR for the CMA, terrible PR for the big food brands.

Bad PR

Omid Scobie

Sticking with Bad PR and the publicity machine around the Omid Scobie book about Megxit went down the tried and tested route of a “translation error” to drum up interest and sales.

The Dutch version of the book is said to have carried the names of the Royals who are alleged to have made racist comments to Team Megxit. The revelation was, of course, a translation error. This error is now as common a PR stunt as floating things down the River Thames. Surely consumers won’t fall for … oh, they did!

Bad PR for the Omid Scobie PR machine and all those associated with it.

Good PR

John Lewis

Some Good PR for John Lewis, which announced it is going to partner with Randox Health to offer health checks to customers. Muggles will now be able to go into the store and get analysed for vitamin deficiencies and hormone imbalances.

It is a nice dollop of positive PR for the brand given its Christmas ad didn’t land with its usual fanfare and overall its last set of figures were disappointing. With its move into property still being thrashed out, this is a diversification that has gone down well with customers and even made the front page of the BBC News website.

Bad PR


Hopping back over to the bad side and this week we end with SkySports and SkyTV in general. Football fans (apart from the Man City flavour who have kept very quiet) have generally been irked by the recent point reduction penalty that was handed down to Everton by the football rule makers.

My own opinion, despite being a Liverpool Reds fan, is that it is very harsh on Everton and they don’t deserve it. Desk-based research tells me that my opinion is the same as the general masses.

SkyTV however, and in particular SkySports, seem to be on the other end of the spectrum and have give little air time to the protests that Everton fans have orchestrated. I wonder why this could be?

Apparently, negotiations are starting around football TV rights deals and this is allegedly influencing the editorial side of Sky as it wants to keep on the good side.

Two of its gobbiest pundits, Carragher (who I love) and Neville (who I don’t love) said nothing about the protest banner being flown above the game they were commentating and providing analysis on. In addition, an interview with Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, where he spoke about the points deduction, was also pulled from being aired before the first Everton game after the penalty.

Football fans have long suspected the relationship between the FA and SkyTV was a bit cosy, not least after it was revealed that Sky pundits knew about the controversial VAR error immediately after it had happened, but decided, or were maybe instructed, not to say anything.

There is no doubt that Sky has done more for English football and English football fans than any other commercial organisation out there (maybe apart from the Saudi PIF), but this time around, it doesn’t seem to be on the right side of the narrative.

Got it right or wrong? I still don’t care, but let me know over on X or The Twitter. Thanks to Alan S Morrison for always letting me know about the latest breaking news!

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

Thanks to Meltwater, Good and Bad PR's data and insights supplier.

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