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Good and Bad PR: All hail Virgin, Sky News and Le Boudoir

Happy Good and Bad PR day everyone. It feels like only yesterday that we were basking in the mass-media saturation of the Royal Wedding but, sadly, we have now crashed back down to earth and the love has gone from the media.

Not here though. I have plenty of love to give… that sounds wrong, let’s move on.

As is so often the case nowadays, the bad PR far outweighs the good. I am going to ignore the Raheem Sterling story (I actually feel bad for the guy in how he has been treated), the Roseanne Barr (not my mum) racism storm and, possibly the most surprising Hollywood outrage, Morgan Freeman.

All of these have been keeping their PROs and publicists busy with none-too-positive headlines.

Bad PR

Fishing Republic
One of the negative brand stories that caught my eye this week was the loss made by Fishing Republic. I had never heard of the brand before, and who knew that fishing was such a popular sport that a company in this sector announcing that it had reeled in losses (£2.3m) would dominate the media so much?! The company’s share price fell by 22% on the back of the bad results. I cod you not… (sorry)

Anyway, ticket platform Viagogo is continuing to suffer at the hands of the bad PR gods and just can’t seem to get ahead of the negative publicity it has been facing since… well, it feels like forever. This week saw the Government’s very own digital minister, Margot James, advise consumers to not use the brand when it comes to buying second-hand tickets for events.

For me, it is bad PR because Viagogo doesn’t seem to be making any headway with its crisis communications plan. It had a beating from the Competition and Markets authority in April and, as far as I can see, it is ducking media opportunities to try and fight its corner. Looking into my PR crystal ball (trademark pending), I foresee it getting snapped up by a rival for a bargain price and the brand quietly being killed off.

Good PR

Le Boudoir
On to the world of good PR and niche campaign of the week has to go to Le Boudoir, seemingly a sex-club (tweet me your fave Alan Partridge quote that relates to this) based in London. An intrepid Metro reporter went for a visit and gave it a glorious write up. The pictures supporting the article, in particular the dungeon room, struck fear in my heart, but all in all it sounds a jolly nice place to go if you are into that kind of thing.

 A quick Google search (in the name of research, dear reader) tells me that this wasn’t the first mention that the club has had in the media in recent times, so I am not too sure who is doing their PR, but I doff my cap (not a euphemism) to you!

Someone that Viagogo could learn from in terms of crisis comms is Virgin. Virgin did exactly what I thought it would do to try and counter all the negative publicity around the renationalisation of one of its train franchises by firing out a strong story with a good hook.

It teamed up with Uber to announce a partnership whereby you can use their combined services to get a cab to or from a Virgin train connection to make your journey that little bit smoother. 

Some cheeky wags pointed out that this service has been reduced somewhat by the loss of the East Coast train franchise that it ran with Stagecoach, but, this is actually the sign of a good campaign, aimed at controlling negative communications… it is continuing to fire out positive stories to counter the bad news.

Sky News
The final dollop of Good PR goes to Sky News itself. I loved the research and news stories it did around Britons being nostalgic to go back to the “good old days”.

Only 21% of people think that their life is better now compared to when they were growing up and 63% said that they felt Britain’s role in the global stage had declined since their youth.

It is an interesting snapshot of the UK today and typifies this feeling of social decline that appears to have grown, especially since things like the austerity campaign began. Gosh, now isn’t that a deep ending to a PR based column.

Normal rules apply, berate me on Twitter @10Yetis.

Written by Andy Barr, head of agency 10 Yetis
Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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