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Good and Bad PR: Network Rail and Elon Musk are the tops this week, alongside Spudman of course!

At last we have passed through the 12-week month of January and finally landed in February. Whilst it may have felt like a long month, the media stories continue to come thick and fast. Let’s take a look at who has been the Goodies and Baddies this week.

Good PR

Network Rail

Network Rail has had a tough start to the year but that does not stop it winning the first Good PR of this week. January was tough on us all but spare a thought for the rail network owners and managers.

The much-publicised storms cause havoc for the train companies. The media is very quick to pile into them when soggy leaves cause train delays but Network Rail released the full list of storm-related issues.

It was not just the usual trampolines blowing onto the rail network during these most recent storms. No, there were garden sheds and even a fully glazed greenhouse. How? No clue, but we need to doff our cap to the train drivers and Network Rail alike for keeping us all going where we need to be going. The drivers are no doubt all off for another strike over wages not covering danger-pay.

Image courtesy of Network Rail

Elon Musk

For the first time in a while I am going to give the world’s favourite brainy-Bond-villain, Elon Musk, a Good PR gong. His Neuralink company announced that it has successfully implanted a device in a human brain.

Before we all start worrying about Musk eventually being able to control everyone’s mind (a very real fear for many), the actual benefits from this work for those who need it are very significant. It is said that stroke victims, or maybe those with partial paralysis or dementia will be able to better communicate and improve their lives via these devices.

I won’t pretend that I know how it all works, but the medical science claims and potential benefits have been backed up by independent scientists such as those from Kings College London. It is good to see scientists stop faffing around with growing human noses on rats’ bottoms and all that nonsense and instead focus on something so useful.

Bad PR

Vegans

Vegans get the first Bad PR of the week. Surprisingly it is not for being nearly as annoying as those who brag about completing Dry January. PS, just do it, no need to walk us all through it.

Anyway, it turns out that vegans are so weak that they can no longer muster up the strength to visit their own kinds of restaurant. This has had the knock-on effect that the vegan restaurants have had to consider the ultimate drastic measure to stay alive, serve meat.

Two vegan restaurants have made the sinister move. Please be aware though, one restaurant is in The North and the other is in The South. My suspicion is that this is some form of pincer movement trap that will slowly spread across the UK to hook all us carnivores in. Eventually it will be announced that it was a trap all along, and we have all actually bean eating (lol) meat replacement food and not steak.

A large chunk of what I say about this story is in jest (10%, 90% of me does worry it is a trap) and it is important that we do get out there and try to support our struggling food and drink industry, even if they are vegan.

Good PR

Spudman

The Tamworth pigs will be seething at the next Good PR as it has knocked them off their perch as the best thing to come out of the town. Step forward “Spudman”, aka Ben Newman. He has a jacket potato van in Tamworth and he has (shudder at the term) “gone viral” on TikTok for his insight into jacket potato retail life.

Fair play to him, he now has 2.6m followers on TikTok and he claims that people from all around the world are “flocking” to try his spuds. Having lived in Lichfield I have visited Tamworth several times and I can only assume he is telling the truth. Mainly because, apart from the Snowdome, there is little else to attract people. Good on ya Ben. By the way, I am a cheese and coleslaw topping man myself.

Muscle Food’s Nick Preston

Ending on another Midlands high, big shout out to Muscle Food’s CEO Nick Preston who also went viral this week. His post on LinkedIn announcing that its pregnant employees would receive full pay during their 12-month maternity clocked up a staggering 1m views, 12k of likes and over 1,000 positive comments.

Onwards to next week everybody, and I hope you have a good one. Don’t forget, my inbox is always open for stories and (far more interestingly) industry gossip, of which there is plenty.

Got it right or wrong, I don’t care, but do tell me anyway.

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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