PRmoment Leaders PRCA PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRmoment Awards Winners North

Good and Bad PR: Rotten PR for Ryanair but red squirrels in Aberdeen are partying

Good PR  

I’ve seen a story doing the rounds this week which has generated loads of positive coverage for Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS). The latter of the two will probably hint heavily as to what this story is about, which has appeared on the likes of The Times, Metro, BBC and The Scotsman.

In an Aberdeen woodland, the number of red squirrels has been rising and there’s no sign of the pesky, non-native grey squirrels which for years caused a mass wipe out of their red relatives due to spreading deadly diseases and fighting.

Years of conservation work in Countesswells and Foggieton woods in Aberdeen has led to the red squirrels flourishing. How they tracked this was even more fascinating, putting sticky tape on the feeder boxes to collect hairs which they could then analyse.

This is a real feel-good story which has generated some great coverage for FES, complete with some ultra-clickable cute pictures of red squirrels.

Bad PR  

Despite trying to clean up its reputation, Michael O’Leary’s airline Ryanair tends to have more bad PR than good. This week is no different.

Cancelling 2,000 flights over a period of weeks will do that to a brand though, which is what the airline has done. Allegedly, it messed up the holiday schedule of the pilots (a HR blip) but others are accusing the airline of just not having the staff to cover all the flights. If the latter is the case, it’s all a tad embarrassing given that it could just be because nobody wants to work for Ryanair.

The cancellations will affect thousands of passengers and holidaymakers and has caused an uproar on social media. To add to the drama, Ryanair put up a list of the cancelled flights so customers could see if their flight was affected, but then people whose flights weren’t on the list later received emails to say their flight was, in fact, cancelled.

At a press conference, the CEO Michael O’Leary, said “Clearly there’s a large reputational impact, for which again I apologise. We will try to do better in future.”

The fact is, people will continue to book with Ryanair because it’s cheap (even though loads of add-ons later on in the booking process bump up the price significantly), but O’Leary is right; this will impact the reputation of the brand significantly enough to put a fair few people off ever booking with it again (just out of principle)… particularly those affected.

The media coverage of the flight cancellations has been vast and there’s just no hiding from this one Ryanair.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter

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: