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Good and Bad PR: Disney, McDonald’s and Greenpeace warm our cockles this week, whilst Johnny Depp and Amazon leave us cold

I don’t want to say this too loudly as I’ll no doubt jinx it, but I *think* things might be starting to get a little better for the world guys!

Donald Trump has lost the US election and there’s hopefully a potential vaccine on its way to the UK in a mere matter of months. Add to that the fact that everyone has seemingly started to celebrate the festive season a little early this year by putting up their Christmas decorations and cranking up the Mariah Carey and Wham! and it certainly feels like a change is in the air.

Here are some good (and bad) examples of PR from brands and individuals to keep us all grounded as we try to envisage what normal life may look like 😊.

Good PR

Is it just me or are the Christmas adverts definitely being release A LOT earlier than usual this year? I mean I’m not complaining, I think after the year we’ve all had, the magic of Christmas can’t come soon enough.

Speaking of magic, Disney’s festive offering this year is pretty up there with some of the best 2020 adverts so far thanks to its focus on the love shared between family members, and a nostalgic look back on the wonders of early childhood.

The animated storyline starts in 1940, when a young girl receives a Mickey Mouse toy from her father for Christmas. Fast forward 65 years and the young girl is now a grandmother, sharing the toy with her young granddaughter, who cuddles the Mickey and helps her Grandma make traditional paper lanterns from the Philippines. Flash forward once again a few years, and the now teenage granddaughter has become uninterested in the festive tradition, upsetting her grandmother greatly.

However, after coming home to discover the ear on her grandmother’s mickey mouse toy has fallen off, she decides to do something to cheer her up. The next morning, the grandmother is transported back to her childhood after walking downstairs to a room filled with the festive lanterns, as well as box containing her Mickey Mouse toy with a fixed ear. Sob!

Disney made this year’s advert in order to support the Make-A-Wish foundation, which helps fulfil the wishes of children around the world.

Vegans around the globe are no doubt rejoicing this week after the announcement from McDonald’s that it will be introducing a range of plant-based options under the name ‘McPlant’ next year.

The offering will include plant-based burgers, chicken substitutes and vegan breakfast sandwiches, in a move that is being applauded by those who’ve previously been unable to consume any of the more traditional McDonald’s menu items due to its meat and dairy based ingredients.

The fast-food chain has previously tested out a plant-based burger at some of its Canadian restaurants which proved to be success. These ‘tester’ burgers were made using ‘Beyond meat’ – a brand producing plant-based alternatives to meat. However, after the announcement of the global roll-out of McPlant, shares in Beyond Meat have actually plummeted due to a lack in clarity of who will supply the chain with its meat alternatives across other territories.

Whilst there is no denying that McDonald’s will still heavily rely on the sales of its flagship items, like Big Macs, McNuggets, French Fries and McFlurry ice creams, this move to accommodate the ever-growing number of people following plant-based diets is a very smart move as we adapt to become a much more environmentally conscious planet.

Despite the fact we’re still in a national lockdown for at least another two and a half weeks, Greenpeace certainly made itself known this week with a pretty clever PR stunt aimed to encourage the government to phase out all new current fossil-fuelled cars and vans by 2030 (the current deadline is 2035)

On Tuesday, two socially distanced Greenpeace activists sped remote-controlled toys under the gates of Downing Street with the message “we’ll lose the race against the climate crisis unless the government phases out new fossil-fuelled cars and vans by 2030.

The police unfortunately stopped the cars before they were able to make it to Boris himself, but the subsequent coverage both on social media and in the news is sure to have gotten the message across.

The decision on whether the government will keep the existing 2035 deadline, or move it forwards to 2030 (which is apparently the only date that will reduce carbon emission in the UK fast enough to help tackle the climate change crisis) is set to be addressed during a speech by the PM on Thursday. Hopefully, this Greenpeace stunt has made some kind of impact as we look to collectively work towards a more environmentally friendly and greener planet!

Bad PR

Johnny Depp
When it comes to this Hollywood actor, things really do seem to have been going from bad to worse in recent months; with yet another huge blow this week, concerning an upcoming movie role.

It was announced, via Johnny Depp’s own social media platforms, that Warner Brothers had asked him to step down from his role as Gellert Grindlewald in the upcoming third instalment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise after filming just one scene.

This decision from the top no doubt follows the dismissal of the actor’s defamation claims against The Sun, who referred to the actor as a ‘wife-beater’ in some articles as it documented his former relationship and marriage to actress Amber Heard.

This week the European commission has charged Amazon with abusing its position in online retail after it used data on third-party sellers to boost the sales of its own goods.

Despite arguing that no company cares more about small businesses than it does, the company now faces a fine as high as 10% of its global turnover if found guilty of breaching competition law. Considering 10% of its turnover is likely to be around £15 billion, we’re going to guess this hasn’t gone down well at Amazon HQ!

According to the European Commission, an investigation into Amazon has been taking place since July 2019, following complaints from traders into its behaviour. It reports that Amazon accesses sensitive data from small and medium sized companies selling their goods on the platform (things like sales figures, page visits or shipping information) and then uses this to help with the sale of its own products, or to choose suppliers.

This is a case that’s unlikely to be settled quickly – watch this space!

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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