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Good and Bad PR: Asda's Happy to Chat badges and the PR stunt that keeps giving...

Well, it’s officially the 1,000th week of 2020 (no? feels like it!) and you’ve made it here to another instalment of good and bad PR. It’s me, @ShazzaYeti, back in the hot seat to bring you this week’s good, bad and pure ugly examples of PR.

Good PR

Lockdown has been hard on everybody, but even more so for the people living alone or who’ve had to shield and spend the majority of their time isolated from friends and family members. In order to help combat the loneliness that is more prevalent than ever right now, Asda has come up with a wonderfully simple initiative that has made quite the media splash.

The supermarket’s 7,500 home delivery drivers will now be wearing ‘happy to chat’ badges to signal that they are happy to spend a few minutes having a conversation with the person they’re delivering too. The hope is that anyone experiencing loneliness and missing in-person conversations with other actual humans will take the drivers up on the offer of a little chinwag.

Apparently, as many as one in four people have said that they only interact with another person once a week, so you can see how this will make a difference to people.

This is all part of Asda’s #DeliveringChristmasKindness campaign, for which it also seems to have teamed up with the Royal Voluntary Service to show people how they can make a difference in their community during these difficult times.

The campaign video, which at the time of writing has been featured on the likes of the Metro, The Scotsman and loads and loads of regional titles.

New Nordic
Next up, if you thought ‘best job’ style PR stunts were dead in the water by now, you’d be wrong. One of the latest comes from Scandinavian health and beauty brand New Nordic, which is “recruiting” for someone to test a year’s supply of its products, paying the successful applicant £300 to do so. It just goes to show, that you don’t need a big salary or even a lavish “role” to get the media’s attention, as this was featured on the Metro and a host of regional publications (so far).

Bad PR

Jeremy Kyle
Jeremy Kyle’s name has cropped up in the press again over the last week, delivering a further blow to the outspoken presenter’s reputation. 63-year-old Steve Dymond, who took his own life just one week after appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show in 2019 and failing a lie detector test to do with his infidelity toward his ex-fiancée.

During a pre-inquest review of Mr. Dymond’s death and the case, coroner Jason Pegg said that Jeremy Kyle was an “interested person” and that comments the presenter made to the contestant during his appearance on the show “may have caused or contributed” to the man’s death.

As we know, the show was permanently axed after Steve Dymond took his own life, but these comments have certainly raised further questions about Kyle.

The counsel for Steve Dymond’s family, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, said that he had been in a lot of distress after failing the lie detector test, and that a WhatsApp message was sent to the crew alerting them to the state of his mental health, saying “Just so you know, he's still crying, he has just said he wishes he was dead. Just giving you the heads up.” 

He had previously been rejected as a guest on the show due to his mental health, but was later accepted on after a note from his doctor.

ITV and Jeremy Kyle’s lawyers have said that the inquest should not spark a "detailed top to bottom inquiry into the Jeremy Kyle Show, its selection, treatment and aftercare of participants", but lots of past contestants and their families may be inclined to disagree.

The full inquest is not expected to be until May 2021, so the full extent of this bad PR won’t be seen until then.

Written by Shannon Peerless, managing director of 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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