PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

Good and Bad PR: Facebook and Boris #fail

Good morning public relations fans. Andy Barr, Capricorn, 41, in the hot seat. What a week it has been for us in the PR community.

Let’s start with the bad so we can eventually go out on a high.

Bad PR

Facebook fall-guy

Facebook, of “we are not the bad guys” fame once again proved that they are actually the bad guys. In a double whammy blow to the public relations community, it did something dodgy (in my opinion) and then threw its own comms guy under the bus. Let me explain…

Everyone’s favourite ex-stalking-platform hired a public relations company to help throw shade at its high-profile detractors. At first, Facebook denied this but then, it admitted it did happen and blamed its departing head of comms. Ouch.

To make matters worse, from a PR point of view, Zuckbook (I am told by Facebook comms insiders that this is the internal nickname for the company) decided to try and bury this bad news by admitting the error of its ways just before Thanksgiving.

Zuck and co have, of course, denied knowing anything about this agency being hired, although it does admit that it probably received emails where the agency name was mentioned. As we all know, the secret squirrel emails that come through are the only ones that we all ever read. I believe Facebook though, honest.

Looking like a Johnson

Moving swiftly on to another walking car crash, step forward Boris Johnson. If you have not seen it, immediately go and watch Inside the Foreign Office on BBC2. If you can’t be bothered, go seek out all the gifs and little video clips that BBC2 is sharing of our favourite fop-haired Tory, acting like a complete arse.

It watches like something off The Thick of It and does him no credit at all. The only people who come out of it looking good are his advisers and PR folk who are clearly trying to explain things in a way and tone that is similar to how I used to explain “sit and roll over” to my ex-dog (the dog died, very sad story, don’t bring it up again, it’s too soon).

Anyway, I imagine T to the M is watching all the clips on a loop and sending them round in the Tory leadership WhatsApp group.

Good PR

All hail Ariana!

On to wonderful world of Good PR. An unusual source this week, step forward Ariana Grande.

The UK’s least-favourite TV presenter*, Piers Morgan, decided to take a pop at my daughter’s fave band, Little Mix. He claimed they were using their bodies to sell songs (or words to that effect). Ariana stepped into the fray and tore him a new one.

Little Mix called him “mean” and then he moaned that Ariana’s fans were trolling him. Great PR for Ariana, taking a stand against a guy who has not just taken on the void left by Katie Hopkins, but actually dug a bit deeper and reached new lows.

Romans romance

I very rarely name agencies in this column, mainly out of sheer annoyance that they have done something so amazing, but I have to salute The Romans who have had an amazing week.

There is a guy on The Twitter called John Lewis. At this time of year he gets bombarded with tweets from muddles thinking he is the shop. Fair play to him, he replies to lots of these tweets like the super hero he is.

The Romans (@HelloRomans) and Twitter got together and created a magical and funny ad featuring him. The media and comms community alike lapped it up. I ruddy loved it. Fair play!

On to The Romans second media hit and it starts a bit dark, but stick with me. We all know that the festive time of year can be tough and, very sadly, suicide rates rocket during this season. My new fave agency came up with a campaign for Virgin Trains where motivational lines from the film “it’s a Wonderful Life” were sprayed on platforms at key stations across its network.

This is a beautiful campaign and a fantastic example of PR having a real-life positive impact. Amazing!

There we have it, my Good and Bad PR for the week. I love you all. Look after each other.

*I carried out a poll on the train carriage I was in at the time of writing.

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

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: