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Good and Bad PR: Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are the pantomime villains

What a turbulent week it has been for global political leaders. Fear not though, I am back again to guide you through the winners and losers from a PR perspective.

Bad PR

Boris Johnson

Oh Boris. You can’t keep a bad man down, and he is back on the Bad PR track. Where to start. The man has seen more rebirths than a midwife.

This week, a committee made up of more Conservative MPs than rival party MPs had the audacity to nearly reveal a report that found him guilty of misleading parliament. He had a tantrum and resigned his seat.

He then used another delaying tactic to try and postpone the launch of the report, by submitting a letter to the committee that allegedly addressed the accusations, at around 11.57pm.

Not content with all the bad headlines about this situation, he then launched into a row with Dishy Rishi about his peerages list not getting the nod. Rishi does not strike me as someone who gets mad. He has the steely calm that you associate with a person who is connected to a billionaire family.

That being said, he used his speech at London Tech Week to fire a carefully worded “oh do fuck off” at BoJo. BoJo, who has seemingly developed thinner skin than that bit between your dangly bits and the waste pipe, again responded in an overly dramatic way.

The poor geeks at London Tech Week have never experienced such high publicity levels, although it was arguably turned down a notch when Keir of Starmer stood up to make his speech (he is apparently excited about the invention of remote controls for televisions - I jest). Anyway, the monitor-tan brigade became a political speech hot pot and this is going to up the pressure on the LTW comms team for next year.

BoJo, have a day off. Take some time out before plotting your return and revenge (again).

Donald Trump

Sticking with political tantrums, The Donald went loco over in America. He made his first, much anticipated, court appearance in relation to his keeping official, confidential, secret government documents in his various domestic and leisure properties.

He pled not guilty to the crime that could see him end up with a 400-year prison sentence. Only his hair piece would survive that long. In a similar move to BoJo, he has just blamed, damned and obscured all involved in order to try and reshape the comms narrative.

Did they both probably do the crimes they are accused of? I think we all know the answer to that. Are they now deploying a considerably bonkers approach to their defence. Yes! Are we expecting a common thread in their defence to emerge in the shape of Lynton Crosby? I would not be surprised.

Good PR

London Tech Week

Enough of all this political chat and let’s get back to normal. London Tech Week, for all that I jest, has had an amazing week on the PR front. Along with the political jousting, it was also the platform that the Energy Secretary used to announce a £4.3m government funding project.

The money will be used to try and harness space-based solar power and send it back down to earth (specifically Britain), in order to try and stabilise our energy supplies. The importance of projects like this have really come to the fore since Putin invaded Ukraine.

Cambridge University is one of the universities that has won funding to get this project going, along with Queen Mary University in London. This really feels like a project that we need the likes of Elon Musk to be involved with. I am not kidding. This kind of out-there idea, involving space, satellites and a huge amount of power, is right up his street.

ASA

The ASA has had another strong week, albeit at the brand expense of Anglian Water. The leaky water company crowed hard about how it was building wetlands across its territories (deliberately, not because of leaks you wag).

The ASA received complaints that the advert did not also acknowledge that it pumps raw sewage into rivers. The ASA agreed that Anglian Water should have probably mentioned this for balance and canned the ad (which does seem a bit harsh IMHO, it would have been a massive buzzkill for the ad to show a little brown fish floating across your screen).

Unlike last week’s Shell vs ASA ruling, Anglian Water took the decision with dignity and got on with it. No attempt to bully the advertising regulator, unlike the PR approach taken by the oil giant in its own response.

More Bad PR

Sainsbury’s and Asda

Sainsbury’s and Asda joined Tesco and Waitrose in a Bad PR evoking tactic this week. Sainsda (or Asbury’s if that is better) has been called out by the competition and markets authority for using sneaky tactics in its land agreements. They stand accused of trying to prevent rival supermarkets building on land near to their own stores via complicated legal jargon in land agreements.

Both companies explained that it was all simply a misunderstanding and they were in no way trying to stop their competitors rocking up next door. And we all completely believe their explanation.

It is Morrisons I feel sorry for. It seems too darn nice and has not been embroiled in this tactic. Maybe it needs to get Roy Keane in as head of operations, to give it a bit of bite in its comms and strategy.

Got it right or wrong? I am easy to find over on @10Yetis and I will thank you all for not mentioning that West Ham fans vs a clock in Prague tweet!

Got it right or wrong, hit me up on @10Yetis


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 andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email

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