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Good & Bad PR: Good news from This Morning, Apple and Aldi, rubbish news from European Space Agency

Credit: Ben Shephard and Cat Deeley, the new presenters of This Morning. Credit: ITV

Hello and welcome to this week’s Good and Bad PR. This week has been slightly lighter on the heavy news agenda front, but fear not, I found lots to berate and celebrate.

Cat and Ben ‘Shepard’ in a new era at This Morning

Ben Shephard and Cat Deeley put the final nail in the ITV This Morning Schofield saga this week. The pair have been announced as the new presenters for the iconic mid-morning TV show. The news went down equally well with city share-price analysts and journalists alike.

ITV will be hoping that it draws an end to the Schofield drama that nearly caused the show to be axed. It seems to have done the trick and I think the comms team should share a glass of something fizzy to celebrate an excellent job, well done, to get through that crisis with their jobs all intact.

A right load of bollocks

I don’t know where to start with this, or if it is Good or Bad PR. A science lab has created a tiny set of artificial balls. Why? Because: Science.

Nitzen Gonen from the Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences and the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan Uni in Israel (imagine how big his business card must be to fit all that on) released a research paper on how they did it and what they found.

Before I jape too much, it should be noted that the aim of this was hoping to help infertile men create children.

It turns out they were mice balls, but in the early research results, they did start to show signs of also creating sperm. The teeny-balls were grown in a lab using cell samples from new-born mice.

The hope for the Israeli testicle-growing scientists is that they can eventually carry out similar research with humans. Imagine the smell coming out of that laboratory.

As with most things science, I am not sure this is going to end well but hey, if they grow a set of balls then maybe their best customers will be UK politicians who have been sadly lacking on that front in recent times.

Rice and chips don’t mix for Apple

In some slightly more helpful science news, Apple has formally announced that rice is off the menu when it comes to drying out your phone.

It is said that Apple has always been keen for punters to avoid using rice after a liquid disaster but it has now taken it one step further; issuing a guidance leaflet!

Rice and your iPhone don't mix

The leaflet outlines that you are supposed to shake the water out of your charging hole and under no circumstances pop the phone in rice. The risk is that the rice may get stuck in the charging port and cause a bigger issue. It is not yet known what impact this will have on rice sales.

Although this all feels very “stating the obvious” from Apple, the world’s media loved the story. As I said at the outset, it has been a slow week.

Aldi never discounts the power of strong customer service

Aldi has clearly had great Christmas sales figures as it has announced it is creating 5,500 jobs across the UK. The roles will be across its retail shop floor and head office and management roles.

I imagine a fair chunk of the roles at HQ will be in the legal team, given its recent spats with M&S and Tesco. Although I jape away, Aldi does deserve huge credit for bucking the national supermarket chain trend of cutting staff numbers to try and make cost savings.

You can never accuse Aldi of being understaffed in its stores and let’s hope some of the other supermarkets follow its lead. A great comms story, perfectly executed so a massive kudos to its team.

Space rubbish needs its own recycling bin

We shall end with a story that is out of this world. The European Space Agency is telling us not to worry about one of its early satellites crashing back down to earth.

The ERS-2 was launched in 1995 and has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to come home. It began its return to earth in 2011 and has finally made it nearly home.

It is due to hit Earth’s atmosphere on the day of this column being written. Team Science does not know where it is going to enter, or exactly when but they do reckon that it will “mostly” burn up in the atmosphere.

The word “mostly” troubles me the most about that statement. With Earth being “mostly” water we should be ok. Add in to this that all space drama happens over the Americas in every Hollywood film and I reckon we in the UK should be just fine.

I think the comms people of 1995 knew this would happen, but they also knew they would probably be in new jobs by the time the satellite came back down to earth in 2024.

A tough week for Team Science this week!

Got it right or wrong, oh please, do make sure to tell me.

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 on email

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