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Good and Bad PR: Brewdog's latest heartfelt offer and Ryan Air's "Jab and Go"

A Happy New Year to one and all. Even before the last bauble had been ripped unceremoniously from the dried-out Christmas tree there was yet another expertly delivered, but entirely flip-flopped government announcement to be made.

After two weeks of senior-government assurances that kids would be going back to school after Christmas, schools were then closed for the foreseeable, business owners were handed another curveball and the nation was placed back into lockdown.

Covid is most certainly unprecedented, a government’s ability to professionally communicate through a global crisis is surely not. We now await the kind of policy-via-leaks that we have become accustomed to.

Now I have that out of my system, maybe we can move on to something far more fun. “What have been the highlights of the public relations world this week?” you ask.

Joe Wicks
Fresh from his MBE (Most Bouncy Exerciser?) award, Joe Wicks has announced that his “PE With Joe” will return from Monday 11 January. My own kids, aged 9, 9 and 11, sighed as I gave them the good news over breakfast, but their own cynicism aside, this is undoubtedly a great PR move by Joe and his team and one that I feel is generally good for the country.

The number of parents and grandparents who have lined up to wax lyrical about PE with Joe bringing back some routine and also time that they can all spend together doing a family activity makes it all worthwhile. Good on you Joe, you bouncy haired fitness instructor to the masses. I wonder how long it is before he has guest appearances though? Maybe Michael Gove doing burpees? My money is on Rishi Sunak being the best at it.

High street stores… and Brewdog
A number of brands have made media hay out of the Covid vaccine sunshine over the last week. Morrisons, Tesco and Boots all announced that they had already been in discussions (behind closed doors) with the government to offer their services and that those services were actually going to be used. Brewdog announced via social media that its pubs were available for use as vaccine-giving centres, should the government be so inclined, and it would even give a free pint to everyone who had the vaccine. Nicola Sturgeon replied. I offer no further comment, your honour.

Finally, I am giving Ryanair the “Dead Cat” campaign of the week. Those cheeky PR scamps have been relatively quiet of late and a quick look through Google shows that Ryanair was getting embroiled in route closure rows, general rage about Covid-related refunds and its normal abuse around customer service. It needed something to wipe the slate clean and in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) terms, push all the bad news down the Google rankings.

So it came up with the “Jab and Go” campaign to highlight the launch of a new range of cheap fares. The muggles went into meltdown on Twitter (where else), Harry Wallop was even wheeled out to pour venom upon the cheeky Irish brand and meanwhile, sales probably went through the roof.

You see, time and time again, and despite the academics amongst us saying that brand ethics is what consumers are now all about (I feel readers should “dab” whilst reading that last sentence), the great British public have demonstrated that if a deal is to be had, they don’t really care about the ethics of the brand… Protein World (sales up £2m after THAT ad) and The ‘Spoons plus Fast Fashion” brands in general.

Ryanair knows this better than the Former Dark Lord of BHS himself and it has successfully got its sales message out there, bumped the day-to-day dross out of the first few pages of Google and is back flying high, pun intended.

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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