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GoodandBadPR: Sleepbus scores an ace whilst Sharapova faults

Good PR

Sometimes, stories reach the media of people who are trying to raise funding for something. Perhaps it's an ambitious new start-up, or an innovative new product; but sometimes it's just for a really, really good cause.

I was browsing through the stories on the Metro website this week and one in particular caught my eye. It was the story of Sleepbus, a project founded by a man named Simon Rowe, an entrepreneur from Melbourne. He is trying to raise $50k via GoFundMe to create the first of what he hopes to be many Sleepbuses. He has the design all figured out and he's pretty much there with everything else too. Each Sleepbus will contain 22 sleep pods with a personal items locker in each, a security system, toilets and also eight pet kennels.

This idea aims to change the lives of homeless people, by providing a safe, warm place to sleep for those living on the streets and their pets. Sheets will be washed every night and there are pods to recharge electronics like phones.

The founder aims to have one bus on the road this year and eventually wants a whole fleet of 300 across Australia. So far, a combined total of $29,200 has been donated by 629 generous people and a few titles have picked up on Simon's project.

It's thought that each bus would provide more than 8,000 safe sleeps for those people sleeping rough on the street, so imagine the impact a whole sleep would have!

He has a touching story too; Simon was evicted after falling behind on his rent in 1993 and ended up sleeping in his car and sneaking into a local caravan park to shower before work. He was one of the lucky ones and managed to get back on track before things got any worse, but this project could make a huge difference for those people who aren't as fortunate as he was. 

Bad PR

Maria Sharapova, for those of you who may not have heard of her, is a professional tennis player from Russia. She also happens to be the highest paid female athlete in the world, but her fortune has changed somewhat this week.

Doping scandals are nothing new in the world of sport, but it's still a massive shock when someone is announced as a drugs cheat. On Monday, Sharapova held a press conference in LA to make a “major announcement”, which started the rumour that she may have been retiring from the sport. However, the five-time Grand Slam winner actually ended up revealing that she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open back in January.

She tested positive for meldonium, a substance that she has been taking since 2006 for health issues on the advice of her family doctor, apparently. She said that she has always known the drug as “mildronate” so hadn't realised she was taking a banned substance. The International Tennis Federation said that the 28 year old will be provisionally suspended from 12 March 2016.

The fallout following the announcement has, predictably, not been good. The global sports brand Nike has announced that it has suspended its relationship with Maria Sharapova "while the investigation continues", which dates back to when she was just 11 years old. In 2010, the tennis pro signed a new eight year deal with the American sports brand worth £49m, so that's going to sting.

Sharapova also had ties with luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and was said to be in talks with the brand about extending a deal which ran out at the end of last year. Since the announcement though, Tag Heuer has announced that those talks have been suspended and her contract won't be renewed.

Carmaker Porsche has also “chosen to postpone planned activities” with the sports star which were going to form part of her three-year deal with the car company as its first female ambassador.

I think the situation has been handled well; a press conference to announce the news before it is leaked to the media is always going to be the preferable course of action to take and I guess it takes a lot of guts... whether or not Sharapova had a say in the matter. She will lose millions of dollars as a result of these broken relationships with the brands she previously represented.

Fellow athletes have been quick to stick the knife in, questioning how she didn't realise that she was taking a banned substance, so they seem to have lost a lot of respect for her, as I'm sure plenty of her fans will have too.

Sharapova is also the face of Avon perfume, the water company Evian and Luck, so we'll see what happens with those deals...

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

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