Good morning public relations fans and welcome along to another action-packed week of goings on the crazy world of communications.
Good and Bad PR
BBC vs Gary Lineker
We have to start this week with the BBC vs Gary Lineker story. It was nothing other than a complete melt-down by the broadcasting giant, seemingly driven by the Tory leaning press. The whole scenario played perfectly for the Government in that it completely removed its Rwanda immigration story off the front pages and really shows the power of the back room briefing brigade.
After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming. 1/4— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 13, 2023
The level of support for Lineker was phenomenal and the BBC had no choice but to do a tactical reversal and get him back in the role before it escalated further. The fact Lineker then fired another warning shot as part of his “glad it is sorted” tweet really did run salt into the wounds of Auntie. What a mess for everyone apart from the Government.
One area where the Government has had a win though this week is the role it played in ensuring the UK arm of the beleaguered American tech bank SVB stayed afloat over here. As soon as the American side of the business went wrong the UK financial regulators, working alongside HM Treasury and the Bank of England, fired up the legislation that fell out of the UK banking crash in 2009 and got a rescue deal agreed with HSBC within 48 hours.
"Companies that had deposits with Silicon Valley Bank UK can access their deposits & can access normal banking services as of this morning".— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) March 13, 2023
Chancellor @Jeremy_Hunt on the sale of Silicon Valley Bank UK to @HSBC, a decision that protects businesses with no cost to the taxpayer. pic.twitter.com/mrqw9izoJs
HSBC bought the UK parts of SVB for £1 and all the tech companies that use the bank breathed a huge sigh of relief. This could have been a long, drawn out and harrowing few weeks for UK tech companies as their banking facilities dried up, but fast and effective action from Government financial departments and HSBC kept the lights switched on. Great PR.
The rest of the tech industry has not had such a good week. Over in the crazy world of Meta, Zuck announced another 10,000 staff were being laid off. This is on top of the 11,000 staff that were let go in November 2022.
The cyber-giant saw revenues in the last quarter drop by 4%, although it still posted a $23bn profit. Zuck is calling 2023 a “year of efficiency”. The elephant in the room is how all of these tech companies, like Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, etc, all over-staffed during Covid thinking WFH would be the new norm, but got it completely wrong and are now having to quietly scale down their plans. The rise of the TWATS (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the office workers) has ruined the tech giants’ plans.
Another tech sector that feels as though it is slowly dying is the land of Crypto. Crypto gets bad PR because another few UK banking companies have taken steps to protect consumers from the risks associated with the online currency marketplace.
NatWest limits cryptocurrency transfers over scam fears https://t.co/NwmgeB2Sgh— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 14, 2023
Natwest has said that it will now limit consumers to a maximum of a £1k daily and £5k monthly amount that can be sent to Crypto exchanges. This comes after HSBC recently said that it is going to prevent its customers from using their credit cards to make payments to these platforms.
In the same week, Paysafe, has also said that it is winding down the ability for its customers to make payments to the Binance marketplace. All in all, Crypto currency is having a bad run and if you tie in the news that Insta and Facebook are also winding down their NFT exchanges, the online currency marketing place looks doomed.
One technology brand that continues to fly is OpenAI. This week the school essay writing champions of the world announced ChatGPT4, its newest and shiniest copywriting and chat tool. Other than a few more splashes of the colour green across the interface I can see little change so far.
That being said, with the world and its dog scrambling to find a way to use the new platform, you can see why its launch secured global headlines. OpenAI really is the media darling right now and despite various naysayers saying otherwise, it is a tool that can really help to transform our own sector in areas such as working efficiencies.
Mrs Hinch gets the final Bad PR of the week for the saga of her ads/not ads fights with the likes of the ASA. I can’t help but feel that the majority of the complaints that the ASA has received over the years are from bitter rival influencers and even more bitter brands, annoyed that they didn’t get the chance to sign up the online mega-influencer.
Instagram influencer Mrs Hinch Instagram posts banned by watchdog over lack of ‘ad’ labelshttps://t.co/cTFI6wf52x— OK! Magazine (@OK_Magazine) March 15, 2023
This week though, the ASA came out with its final report into commercial social media content that she posted over a year ago and said she should not use that content again. The tabloid media (keen to protect its own advertising revenue) screamed headlines with words like “banned” in.
Mrs Hinch was rumoured to be very upset about the whole thing, but was fortunate enough to be drying her eyes using her spare £50 notes. You would think that in the digital age, yes Mrs Hinch should know better, but also, the ASA should be able to move quicker so issues like this don’t drag on and take years to reach a final ruling.
Northwestern Polytechnical University
Finally, Good PR to Northwestern Polytechnical University in China who have given us what we have all really wanted at some point in our lives, mice with deer antlers growing out of their heads! Whilst the thought terrifies me, the logic behind it makes perfect sense.
Deer shed and then grow back their antlers. Antlers are made up of a kind of bone. When humans lose a limb, they can’t grow these back… Step forward mice with head antlers as it is your time to shine. The scientists have found the stem cells that trigger the regrowth of antlers in deer and whack some in the bounce of some lab mice.
A few months later and hey presto, mice-deer were born. Attenborough is said to be on his way over there to do a voiceover for the promo video. In all seriousness, sounds a solid breakthrough for science, although I am not sure someone who has lost an arm would want an antler in its place instead. I jest, well done Team Science.
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 andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email
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