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

Good and Bad PR: John Lewis, Apple and M&S are up there this week, unlike Walkers, Weetabix and NASA

Hello there PR land and welcome to my weekly sermon on the world of Good and Bad Public Relations.

Whilst trawling the internet for strong comms examples I could not help but draw comparison between the philosopher Axel Rose and the wider digital PR community right now, when he said…

“Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun and games
We got everything you want honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey, we got your disease”.

It is a crazy industry right now both in terms of employers vs employees and clients vs their competitors. The battles in the ecommerce sector alone are like nothing I have experienced in my wide and varied, near 25-year career in comms and marketing.

However, against and maybe, despite this backdrop of oddness, there have been some shining lights of Good PR this week and so, without further ado let us turn our hymn books to page 78 and all sing together “Hark the Herald John Lewis Retail King” (catchy, I know).

Good PR

John Lewis

John Lewis fired the annual starting pistol for Christmas with its TV ad launch and it felt for a split second like the world was actually, maybe, finding some form of normality. Of course there were a few people moaning about those with albinism being associated with the term “alien” but by and large it did the job.

I always use my kids, 10, 10 and 11, as the barometer of success for this size of campaign and they gave it a universal thumbs up. The same thumbs up came from the majority of the media. I feel like we all need a bit John Lewis feel-good factor in our lives right now and it more than deserve the first Good PR of the week.


Apple gave us an unusual bonus heading into the lethal-for-your-phone Christmas Party season. It is going to figure out a way for non-authorised screen repairs to allow the Face-ID technology to still work.

Historically, with the latest iPhones, if you drop the slippery little bugger onto a hard surface, bust up the screen and then get a none-Apple authorised place or person to fix it, the Face ID stopped working because each original screen came with a chip that matched it to the phone.

No date has been given for when this update will happen, but this move alone got the global brand a wave of positive PR that even included a nice few words in The Register. High praise indeed.

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer hit the headlines for all the right reasons this week as its retail trading update gave an insight into the growth and even more growth of its food offering. Since the retail restrictions were lifted, the store continued to deliver on its business turnaround promises along with ensuring that its food division carried on gaining popularity with more than just the posh-nanna brigade.

Clothes sales were down, but food sales were up 10% which is truly staggering given the current trading climate. I for one am very glad to see this high-street giant coming back off the ropes and firing once again.

Bad PR

Walkers and Weetabix

Two food brands who got wrapped up in negative headlines surrounding supply shortages this week were Walkers and Weetabix. On both counts, sadly for the comms teams, operational issues have led to the Bad PR. Walkers has a mysterious “IT System” issue that has meant that the production lines for the nation’s favourite crisps have moved to a go-slow and Weetabix is embroiled in a set of HR issues that could end up in a strike

There is little that the PR teams can do to prevent the bad press but it once again supports the general UK economic feeling that everything currently balances on a knife-edge.


NASA ends the week’s Bad PR although, really it looks like the Billionaires’ Rocket Club (Musk and Bezos) are partially to blame. Just as NASA was putting the finishing touches to its “Fake Moon Landing 2.0” studio (I jest) it was revealed that the launch was going to have to be put back a year.

Bezos and Musk are in a legal spat over the vehicle that will be used on the moon landings and material costs for the rocket itself, have, erm, rocketed!

The moon will just have to wait.

Got it right or wrong, hit me up on The Twitter. Be kind to each other everyone.

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

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: