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Good and Bad PR: Dominic Cummings creates good PR for himself and bad PR for Boris and the government

As we finally march into some sunny weather (we are British, we MUST reference the weather) I am back with the Good and Bad PR shots from the past seven days.

Good and Bad PR

Dominic Cummings vs Boris Johnson

It would be easy to spend the whole of this week’s article focusing on Dominic Cummings, but I think we can just surmise as it being Good PR for himself and yet more Bad PR for the Government and in particular Boris. 

King in Waiting Rishi came out of it the best, as did Department for Health and Treasury civil servants who clearly pulled together the core rescue and survival plans in a very short space of time. At the time of writing, it is not clear what the final fall-out will be, but you can guess that Hancock will change positions in the next re-shuffle, and we all know that Teflon-Bozza will deploy his usually bluster-tactics and come through unscathed.

Cummings’ show of contrition and dare I say, humility, has won him a few new fans from the media scrum, but I can’t see a path back into politics for him for quite some time, if ever.

Sad PR

Marks and Spencer

Moving onto more sad news, Marks and Spencer announced this week that a further 30 stores will close and the once iconic high-street brand is slowly and surely moving to a pure food-orientated focus. This is yet another blow to the UK high street, and comes at a time when The Treasury is desperate to get people back out and shopping again.

M&S has clearly lost ground again in the once-reliable clothing industry and it is going to take a Lazarus-esque comms turn around to get it ever topping the Good PR charts again.

Good PR


At the other end of the retail spectrum, Amazon has once again flexed its muscles and garnered a heap of positive mentions around the announcement that it is buying MGM, the home of James Bond, amongst other mega-entertainment franchises. The $8.45bn deal was handled beautifully by the Jeff Bezos comms crew; talking up their plan to protect the heritage of the MGM brand and it has once again set them apart from the crowd in terms of attitude and approach.

Bad PR


The NHS wandered into a comms nightmare this week when a group of campaigners got together to oppose the NHS Digital plan of collating every GP record in one central NHS database. It is very unclear exactly who will have access to the central hub and the NHS was quick to point out that it does declare who has been given access, but, only after it has happened.

The fear is that the big pharma companies will be able to access it via a myriad of legitimate reasons, but the comms fallout has led to the NHS being accused of “sneaking” this through and not giving us muggles long enough to opt-out of sharing our GP records. This was first attempted in 2016 and quietly scrapped and if the public uproar continues, it could be even more NHS money going down the drain.


Mice get a nod for Bad PR this week, with stories reaching the UK media of Australia experiencing a mice problem. When a government has to launch an app to track and try and stop rodent infestations you know you have a problem and our friends over in Oz are being warned that the mice are marching on Sydney and show no signs of stopping.

Farmers are being incentivised to try and prevent the problem growing, but the weather is hampering efforts and the little critters are chewing through vital electricity and communications wiring, causing major headaches for cities and villages across the country.

Good PR

Finally, let’s end on some Good PR for one of our own comms folk. Step forward Jonathan Hemus (@jhemusinsignia) author of Crisis Proof. His book on Crisis Communications won specialist business book in the 2021 Business Book Awards and this is no mean feat. The book itself is a real cracker and I would urge everyone in PR land to go and give it a read, or at the very least, buy it for the CEO of your most worrying client. Nice one Jonathan! We in PR land salute you.

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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