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Good and Bad PR: Great Greggs, faltering Fox News, gluttonous global food producers

It has been a fascinating week in the world of public relations so let me take you on a short stroll through the hits and misses.

Good PR

Greggs

First up, I recently gave Greggs, of The North, a Great PR gong for being a fantastic British business success story, so of course The Establishment in The South would rally against it. The beige food specialist announced that its store in Leicester Square would be one of the first that it wanted to move to being 24-hour.

Westminster Council turned down the application and even threw in a very poor pun in its formal ruling that it was a “half-baked idea”. That kind of “comedy” may well work in the southern world of politics and tapas-eating but it won’t fly in the rest of the UK and is one of the reasons why The North wants to follow the Trump mantra of “building a wall”.

The hugely well-respected and not at all brand-tarnished Met police followed up with its own comedy line that a 24-hour Greggs would become a hotspot for “crime and disorder”. Unless, by that, they mean London plod would congregate in the area themselves, snacking on sausage rolls and plotting more misdemeanours they could get involved in, it sounds incredibly farcical.

Greggs, please keep going. The rest of the UK loves you and now you have surpassed Yorkie bars as being the truckers’ favourite hunger-buster, you have an army of people behind you, wanting to stick it to these Southern Softies.

Bad PR

Fox News

Fox News gets the first Bad PR of the week for its massive pay-out to Dominion, the voting machine company, for spreading the fake news that the American election had been rigged against Donald Trump. The Murdoch-family-owned brand paid over $787.5m in an out-of-court settlement that stops Rupert Murdoch himself having to potentially testify in the court case.

It played out like a scene from Succession thanks to some staff blood-letting by Fox News, claims and counter claims by both sides, and all this whilst a claim by a second election tech co, Smartmatic, waits patiently in the side lines.

Trump has remained worryingly quiet about it all, but then again, he has a few legal issues of his own to deal with.

Global food producers

Sticking with Bad PR and food manufacturers and producers were jettisoned into the limelight here in the UK over the cost-of-living crisis and pricing strategies. The Office of National Statistics reported that inflation had dropped but not by as much as anticipated because food costs were still high.

Following on from the success of Ofgem accusing the energy companies of operating a “rocket (up) and feather (down)” approach to pricing, where the prices then, shock horror, actually dropped, the ONS tried a similar approach.

It highlighted that global food prices were dropping, but that this was not being reflected in the UK yet. The subtle undertone here is that the global food makers are allegedly keeping the prices higher for as long as they can get away with it.

A price tracking app (that I own 50% of so I won’t mention the name in this column) shows that the likes of a 1kg bag of own-brand pasta has risen across all the UK supermarkets by an average of over 70% since mid-2021. This certainly does put things into perspective for families struggling to eat. You have to begin to question how long the food manufacturers claims around being trapped in high energy tariffs and alike will stack up when put under greater scrutiny.

Mixed PR

UK Government

Moving on, the UK Government is facing, what I consider to be very odd, scrutiny around the launch and testing of its new Emergency Alerts system on mobile phones.

The lefties and Patagonia Brigade are saying it is an invasion of privacy. The normal folk are quite liking being tipped off about being able to avoid a potential near-death situation.

I carried out an entirely scientific survey and 70% of people who follow me on The Twitter are with the “it’s a good thing” camp. I think the Government has done well to not react to the tinfoil hat brigade rants. I look forward to being momentarily panicked on Sunday, safe in the knowledge the Downing Street posse have got our backs.

Good PR

Netflix

Ending on yet another successful nostalgia-led campaign, hats off to Netflix for getting global media love for the announcement that it is formally ending its postal DVD hire division. Who knew it was even still going? I didn’t. Still, it got a swathe of good PR from the move.

Dispatches

This week’s mention in dispatches gives Bad PR to Arsenal FC for that video of the mascot being ignored by its soulless players before a recent game. A Good PR for the Good Friday Agreement anniversary celebrations that brought all the surviving major players back together to talk about how they achieved the historic agreement.

Got it right or wrong, you know where to find 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 andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email

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