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Good and Bad PR: Raise a BrewDog glass to Branson

Good PR

Branson flies high
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, but most recently in the form of Richard Branson, it seems. After a hen party was kicked off a Jet2 flight for a slogan written on their T-shirts, the bride-to-be (35-year-old Emma Green from Leicester) was understandably rather devastated. Emma and 17 of her friends were wearing tops reading “Emma’s hen party 2017” on the front and ”bitches on tour” on the back, but were forced off the Jet2 flight for the “offensive” shirts.

They then had to all pay to get on a different flight to Majorca, which lost them a day of their trip and ended up costing each of them a lot extra.

Since this all went on, Virgin founder Richard Branson has come to the rescue and offered the entire group free flights to Vegas from London Gatwick, including three nights at the Tropicana hotel. What a gent!

This random act of kindness, a favourite PR tactic of mine, has generated loads of really positive coverage for Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic, including on the likes of the Metro, Mail Online, The Sun and some Leicester titles too.

The beers are on BrewDog
In other news, BrewDog has secured some top-notch coverage after announcing it will offer anyone who can prove they voted in the General Election a free beer.

The beer brand and pub chain has 29 bars across the UK and said that anyone who brought in a postal ballot confirmation or a selfie taken outside a polling station (not illegally inside) could get a free beer from bar staff. The free beers were up for grabs on the day of the polls and the day after. Coverage reached the likes of The Independent, The Sun, Metro, Mirror, The Drum and plenty of regional titles too for places where the bars can be found. Piggybacking on something as huge as the General Election isn’t always easy, but this was executed really well and had a really important underlying message to get more people to vote. Nice!

Bad PR

Inkspire Rochdale fails to do good
A tattoo parlour in Rochdale has come under fire this week for breaking its word with regards to a charity drive. You’ve probably heard about the people of Manchester and others around the world getting worker bee tattoos as a sign of love and solidarity, following the awful terrorist attack in which 22 men, women and children lost their lives.

The worker bee has special meaning for the people of Manchester, after becoming a symbol for the city after the Industrial Revolution, representing the area’s energy and sense of community. 

Inkspire Rochdale was offering the worker bee tattoos for £25 apiece, with all proceeds going to The Manchester Fund which was set up to help victims of the attack and their families. In total, 51 people went to the tattoo parlour to have the ink done, raising £1,275.

However, a spokesperson for the tattoo parlour posted on the Facebook page telling people that it had decided to donate the money raised to a different cause (a single mum in need of life-saving surgery) as “such a huge amount” had been raised already for the original cause. Many people who’d had the tattoos done, thinking the money would go towards The Manchester Fund, were displeased and took to social media to express their annoyance.

The story has appeared on the Metro website and this level of national coverage can really damage the reputation of a brand.  

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter.

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