PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

Good and Bad PR: Hovis and Heidi Klum show us how it’s done, unlike Timberlake and Temu

Andy is taking a rare day off, so for this week’s instalment of Good and Bad PR, I’m afraid you’re stuck with me folks. It is I, Shannon, the MD at 10 Yetis, returning to the hotseat to deliver the lowdown on what’s been a hit with the media and who has really been testing the ‘all PR is good PR’ theory. Let’s take it away…

Good PR

It’s been 50 years since the iconic Hovis “boy on the bike” advert aired, which saw 13-year-old Carl Barlow star as a bread delivery boy struggling to push his bicycle up the steep cobbled streets of Gold Hill in Dorset, set in a post-war Britain, before joyfully free-wheeling back down. Back in 2019, this was voted in a Kantar poll as the most iconic UK ad of all time.

To mark its anniversary, Hovis sent the now 64-year-old Carl back to the very spot the advert was filmed (which, by the way, became somewhat of a tourist hotspot thanks to the ad all those years ago). After capturing a picture of Carl pushing a Hovis bike up the same hill, in a similar getup, the brand had a fantastic photo story to push out to the media. They also snapped a second photograph of Carl beside a new “boy on the bike”, 11-year-old Alex Freeman, which suggests Hovis is passing the baton on. Perhaps this could be a teaser for a new advert (do I smell a Christmas ad on the horizon)?

So far, I’ve seen this story doing the rounds on the likes of BBC, Mail Online and ITV… not too shabby at all! There was also a story I spotted about a Grade II listed cottage on the iconic Gold Hill going on the market after major renovations saved it from its state of disrepair, which also got a few Hovis namechecks.

When I looked a bit deeper, I thought these feel-good stories were perfectly timed after a string of doom and gloom news about the famous bakery. Around a month ago, Hovis announced pre-tax losses of £28.6m and back in March employees were threatening strikes over pay. Hopefully, the “boy on the bike” revisit will give the brand something upbeat to dine out on for a little while (if, like I said, something Christmassy comes around as part of it).

Heidi Klum

In other headlines, model Heidi Klum delivered once again at her 22nd annual Halloween party with a another hard-to-beat costume that she just seems to have a knack for knocking out of the park. This year, Heidi wore a full body peacock suit and mask, flanked by 10 professional acrobats from Cirque du Soleil who made up the colourful feathered wings of her costume. Husband Tom Kaulitz went as a giant egg to match Heidi’s costume, but looking significantly less flamboyant. The pictures were great, the coverage was aplenty and this was great PR for the magical Cirque du Soleil as well. I much preferred the peacock to Heidi’s 2022 worm. If you don’t remember it, Google it and thank me later (or don’t).

Bad PR

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake has just said “Bye Bye Bye” to America for a little bit after jetting off to Mexico to apparently escape all the of the recent media attention hot off the back of Britney Spears’ tell-all memoir which paints him in a less-than-ideal light.

Britney’s claims of his infidelity and Timberlake pressuring her to get an abortion, amongst other bombshells, were pretty damning and have resulted in a string of negative media articles about him.

He is yet to comment on Britney’s memoir and is clearly taking some time to assess the situation and figure out a way to protect his reputation, but I can’t help but think his publicist should’ve got ahead of this situation already and supported him to address the memoir with a statement on his socials.


In other news, the Chinese-owned online marketplace Temu has four adverts banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), leading to some particularly bad press.

One advert, featuring a girl between the ages of eight and 11 wearing a bikini was banned for portraying a child in a sexual way. Four other ads were also banned, including images of women in tight-fitting clothing that “accentuated their body shape” but without their full face shown, that were said to present “individuals as stereotypical sexual objects”.

Temu tried to shift the blame to Google, arguing that it had more than one million photos uploaded to its Google Ads account and didn’t get to decide the specific products advertised or what they were shown, missing the point that it was the images themselves that were the issue.

Some of the sites on which these ads appeared have now blocked Temu advertising on their platform again and the online marketplace will have to take these bans very seriously if it wants to avoid further action or hefty fines in the future.

Written by Shannon Peerless, managing director of 10 Yetis Digital. Seen any good or bad PR lately? Abuse and contradictory points welcomed over on The Twitter @10Yetis or on email

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: