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Good and Bad PR: Ikea, Oceanogràfic Aquarium and Royal Mail are this week’s heroes, M&S and the government are the villains

Another week is upon us, and with the country being subjected to even more depressing news regarding local lockdowns, tier systems and general gloominess, you might think that there’d be little else to report from the media.

Well how wrong you’d be.

Here are some of the most noteworthy examples of good and bad PR I’ve spotted making the headlines over the past week.

Good PR

With the majority of us spending so much time at home during recent months, it is hardly surprising that so many have taken lockdown to redecorate their properties with new furniture, and the absolute geniuses at Ikea have launched a brand new initiative that these individuals can take advantage of.

‘Buy Back’, due to be introduced by the retailer on 27 November, will encourage customers to sell their unwanted Ikea furniture back to its store in the UK and Ireland. The items will be then be available to purchase second-hand in stores from those looking for a bargain. Subsequently, those who’ve sold their Ikea buy backs will receive a refund card to spend in store, with no expiry date and potentially worth as much as 50% of the original price.

What a dream!

According to spokespeople from Ikea, the initiative hopes to help customers take a stand against excessive consumption in the lead up to Black Friday 2020 and in the years to come.

Oceanogràfic Aquarium
And for the cutest story of the week…

A same-sex penguin couple at the Oceanographic aquarium in Valencia, Spain have become adoptive parents after being donated an egg to look after that hatched in the past week. According to reports, this makes them the very first same-sex penguin couple from the zoo to take care of an egg and successfully hatch it.

The couple, named Electra and Viola, are now the proud parents to their own little one after previously engaging in traditional mating rituals together, which involved making a nest out pebbles.

Royal Mail
In order to celebrate Black History Month, four UK postboxes have been painted black this October in order to honour black Britons.

Situated in the cities of London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, each box features a significant figure in the British Black community, including comedian Sir Lenny Henry, nurse Mary Seacole and footballer Walter Tull.

The move, aimed to mark the success of black Britons, also incorporates QR codes on each of the boxes that can be scanned to bring up an extended list of other black Britons who have appeared on special stamps.

Bad PR

Marks and Spencer
Shoppers at Marks and Spencer are not happy this week after discovering that the high-end supermarket has been caught selling ‘chip shop scraps’ and charging the extortionate rate of £1!

The ‘scraps’ – or batter bits – are essentially what’s left over as the by-product after frying a piece of fish, and are normally served completely free of charge in your local chippy, making this move from M&S even more of a joke!

Twitter users are understandably raging at this move, taking to the platform in their hoards to complain about the gentrification of chip shop scraps, and gathering support in the form of thousands of likes, retweets and comments.

Moral of the story – don’t mess with Britons and our fish and chip dinners.

Governments ‘Cyber First’ Initiative
Unless you’ve spent the last week living under a rock or in an internet- free existence, then you’ll no doubt have seen the epic fail by the government that aimed to encourage young creatives to seek out a career in ‘cyber security’.

The ad featured an image of a ballet dancer – one of the most demanding and challenging creative industries to make it in – alongside the caption “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber”. The ad was used to promote cyber security jobs and encourage people to move towards a new career in tech, has been described as insensitive, crass and patronising, and highlighted just how little government support those working in the UK arts are receiving as we continue to struggle through the global pandemic.

Attempting to defend its advert, Downing Street claimed it was part of a wider campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to consider a career in cyber-security, yet admitted that it was inappropriate and had been removed.

Well at least it’s done one thing right there! What a mess.

Written by Lauren Wilden, head of PR at 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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