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Good and Bad PR: Heathrow wins first ever Neutral PR award whilst Apple wins first ever Sulky PR prize

As the countdown to Christmas moves ever closer, the world of public relations is doing all that it can to keep the media machine fed with trivia and facts. Take my hand and join me as I wander, ever so gracefully, through the hits and misses of the communications week.

Neutral PR

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow starts us off with neutralising PR of the week. It received a meaty dollop of positive coverage thanks to giving us its insight and thoughts into future passenger number trends.

The business said that it was unlikely to return to pre-Covid passenger numbers for a lengthy period of time and lay blame at the door of the war in Ukraine, and Covid-19. The media and industry analysts appeared largely sympathetic to the news. A solid win.

Oh, but then, a few days later Heathrow put out a statement saying that it may have to impose a limit on the number of passengers that it would let travel over the busy Christmas period. It blamed the difficulty in staff recruitment as the main issue, but the damage was already done as the media and industry analysts turned on the airport bosses for the contradictory statements. The Bad balanced out the Good and as such, ladies and gentlemen, Heathrow wins our first ever Neutral PR of the week.

Good PR

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The FCA this week got big praise from the serious media thanks to its aim of trying to stop the environmental baddy brands from greenwashing their way into Neutral PR. I should stress this this is nothing to do with my recently accusing Shell of greenwashing by sponsoring British Cycling in this column. The FCA announcement is aimed at investment firms who market their funds as being environmentally friendly and or sustainable, yet really they are investing in companies that do bad things like squeezing the tears out of penguins to make moisturiser. To be clear, I don’t think any companies actually do this, and you should never try this at home, or at your local zoo.

Excellent work FCA, I salute you.


Another surprising PR incident happened this week; Llandudno got some good PR. Having once lived just down the road from the sleepy seaside giant, I feel qualified to poke fun.

Anywho, I digress. Team Science has decreed that it has extracted the oldest human DNA ever found (from human remains discovered in a secret spot in Llandudno) and from this they can work out that two distinct groups with different heritage migrated to the UK (via Llandudno) at the end of the last Ice Age. No doubt, the Welsh will now crow that if it wasn’t for them, the English would not exist. The bones that were tested were believed to have come from a female who died 15,000 years ago and I am guessing they worked in digital PR.

Sulky PR

Apple wins PR sulk of the week for its response to the news that all its smartphones need to have the USB-C charging widget by 2024. In my head, the official Apple statement by Greg Joswiak (senior VP of worldwide marketing at Apple) was written whilst he was storming up to his room to have a strop. “Governments get to do what they’re going to do and obviously we’ll have to comply, we have no choice”, the rumour is that he followed it up by saying he didn’t want spaghetti hoops with his dinner.

This is a very regional problem for Apple. The new rules are only coming into force in Europe and the mega-cool brand has not declared if it is going to follow suit in the rest of the world. This is not a new problem for Apple though and the stroppy, knee-jerk sounding PR stance is surprising given how respected it is for its normal approach to strategic communications.

Brilliant PR

Morrisons and Heinz

Let’s end on a high and a big thanks to @Alan S. Morrison offa The Twitter for sharing the Morrisons “Ask for Henry” campaign. For those not in the know, from 26 October until early January, if you go to the Morrisons café and “ask for Henry” you will get a free jacket potato with beans. This is a fantastic initiative that has been set up by Heinz and Morrisons to try and help those going hungry through the half term.

The media has, quite rightly, gone to town on this brilliant campaign and given the doom and gloom of the UK news agenda in recent times, it is the shining light that we all need.

Got it right or wrong? You know where I am.

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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