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Good & Bad PR: Elizabeth Line goes great guns as does DNA testing firm 23andMe

With the recent tragic goings on over in America, the on-going war in Ukraine and the seeming never ending car-crash of UK politics it feels like it is getting increasingly hard to find Good PR right now. Fear not though, I have delved deep into the news headlines to bring you this week’s list of Goodies and Baddies from the world of public relations.

Good PR


Let’s start with some Good PR, although it falls out of a very strange story that does not paint the American fertility clinics of the 1980s and 90s in a strong light. DNA testing company 23andMe wins my first Good PR thanks to its prominent product placement through the Our Father Netflix documentary.

For those who have not seen the show, you should. I am not going to give any plot spoilers here, but when I watched it I got the feeling that the DNA testing giant had maybe partly funded the programme. 23andMe is getting a mention in almost every article that reviews the documentary.

This is wild speculation on my part, but I would guess that 23andMe has done a roaring trade since the show came out. As we all know in PR, having a great case study for your service can be the make or break of a campaign and at the last count, 23andMe has over 100 of these from one show alone.

Bad PR

Elon Musk

Sticking with Bond villainesque characters and it is has been at least a few weeks since Elon of Musk got himself tangled up in an international incident and this week it is China who is seemingly out to get him, or maybe just his Starlink satellite network. Chinese, state-backed, military researchers have advised their government bosses that the Musky satellite network could pose a credible military risk if weaponised and that China should develop the ability to disable or even destroy the network, should the shizzle hit the fizzle.

As the Twitter deal slowly dies a death this is a great profile booster for the Musk, albeit, once again on the wrong side of the good stuff. It is the second time this year that the Chinese government has expressed concern over Starlink so I think this shows that they mean business. It is always nice to be talked about, but maybe not for being a muggle with a potentially lethal network of weapons.


Carrying on with the Bad PR theme, everyone’s favourite brand that provides a gateway into high interest debt, Klarna, hit the rocks this week. It can foresee a recession and as such has acted swiftly to axe 700 staff.

I was particularly caught with the ironic twist that the CEO used the following phrase in his pre-recorded statement to staff: “… the world is not temporary or short-lived…” which is exactly what his company plays on in order to hook in customers who need that new item of clothing or the latest electrical gadget immediately and use Klarna to fund it.


Klarna cutting staff came on the same week that social media company Snap announced a freeze on hiring which triggered a 40% share drop which is yet another sign that the tech scene is feeling the pinch of the looming global recession.


One more hit of Bad PR before we end on a high. You know all those god-awful spammy wires that some clients (and dare I suggest agencies) shove their releases onto when a story bombs, well, this week there was further reason to support them being labelled as spammy.

Maybe spammy is harsh, lacking due diligence would be a better description. AccessWire this week got, quite rightly, nailed by the highbrow city media after an entirely fake press release that was claimed to have been issued by GAM Holding AG saying that it was planning to rescue Luna, the crypto currency, was placed on its wire.

GAM was quick to make it clear it had nothing to do with it and AccessWire eventually took it down. Too late though. All the even more spammy aggregators went on to scrape and share the non-story and, of course, all the Crypto and NFT social media bots went to town on the shares and RTs.

A sorry situation and if I remember rightly, when a similar thing happened to Google a few years back (as in a newswire carried a false story claiming the search giant was in talks to buy a brand just to boost that brand’s value), Big G went to town and nuked all the wires that ran the story. Fingers crossed Google does this again as I feel it is the only company able to carry the credibility and actual ability to try and police this Wild West financial market.

Great PR

Elizabeth Line

Let’s end on a high though. The much spoken about Elizabeth Line went live this week and despite a fire alarm threatening to dampen proceedings, the launch went well. The pre-publicity ensured that queues of people trying to be the first on the new line formed well in advance. Great work by the Transport for London comms team and a nice bit of positive news on an otherwise gloomy week.

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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