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Good and Bad PR: Open AI, Cliff Richard and BBC score lots of headlines but not the ones they want!

What a busy week in PR land. So many stories, so little time. Whilst you are all scouring the internet looking for Autumn Statement newsjacking coverage, why not take a few minutes out to take a stroll through the Good, Bad and Ugly of the world of PR from the last seven days.

Good PR

Dom “The Hodge”

Let’s start with a resounding Good and it even comes from one of our own, Dom “The Hodge” and his family Christmas lights. Dom is a massive cheerleader for the PR industry and so many of the tech initiatives he has been involved in have helped our sector. With this in mind, it was great to see him and his beautiful family get some big-ticket media love for his charity related Christmas lights.

Every year he puts up enough Christmas lights outside of his house that the whole village dips when he turns it on. Christmas light goals right there, and I have serious dad envy. It has grown to be such a spectacle that people come from far and wide to take a gander.

He uses his (40,000 bulb) powers for good and has a collection box where visitors can donate to Martin House Children’s Hospice. He has raised thousands over the years and he and the family are fully deserving of this week’s first Good PR. Nice one Dom.


Dom’s knowledge of Google is a nice segue over to the second Good PR of the week, Apple. Google has tried to keep how much it pays to Apple for being the de facto search on its iPhone and other tech under the radar.

Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, accidentally let the figure slip in a cross-examination moment during an antitrust hearing in America. You ready… 36% of the total amount and rumoured to be $18bn. Wow.

Whilst this is very Good PR for Apple for striking such a strong deal, it has antitrust campaigners foaming at the mouth. They say this is why people like Apple won’t build a search rival to Google, because they are being paid so well for just handing over the opportunity. Neither Apple or Google responded to any media requests to clarify the amount, but they didn’t need to, the global media had already got their story without any help.

Bad PR

Sir Cliff Richard

Moving it closer to home and Sir Cliff Richard of singing and impromptu Wimbledon karaoke fame gets the first Bad PR of the week. He was on the This Morning couch chatting to Alison Hammond and crew about his nearly meeting Elvis.

In a moment of clear brain-fog-madness he admitted that he pulled out of meeting his hero because Elvis had dared to get a bit chonky and Sir Cliff didn’t want a picture with him looking like that. I paraphrase, but you get the gist.

Hammond stepped in and pointed out the error of Sir Cliff’s ways and received rightful praise for doing so. As someone who sits at the chonkier end of the weight spectrum and has also had to sit through hours and hours of his songs playing via a super-fan mother, I think it is important that We Don’t Talk Anymore.

I think that could be the end of Sir Cliff being allowed on live TV, apart from singing at Wimbledon, where he can be quickly muted if he goes rogue again.

Top Gear/BBC

Sticking with Bad PR and we bid a fond farewell to Top Gear this week. Whilst it birthed the successful career of the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, it nearly wiped out a few national treasures in Richard Hammond and, more recently, Sir Freddie of Flintoff.

There is no doubt that the show represented the last bastion of blokey-TV so maybe it is not the end of the world that it is heading over the rainbow bridge and to the great car garage in the sky. The BBC is now left with a gaping hole that no mechanic can fix. Not just a scheduling hole, but also a commercial hole considering how popular the show was around the globe.

I am sure that the reality-style master-baking show that will surely replace it will be just as popular, but maybe not as worldly respected as Top Gear once was.

If only Clarkson had not punched that producer… but then again, we would potentially have never experienced his farm show that is said to have done more for the farming community than decades of Country File ever did.


I suppose we have to end by mentioning Sam Altman and the OpenAI saga. I tried to give it Bad PR but the machine-bot that writes this column won’t let me.

Got it right or wrong, I don’t care, but feel free to let me know.

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

Thanks to Meltwater, Good and Bad PR's data and insights supplier.

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