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Good and Bad PR: Oh MG! Bad week for the car maker and the Government has some dodgy moments too

The fact I find myself writing this at 10pm at night (to my long-suffering column editor Daney, I apologise) tells you all you need to know about how deep into the pre-Christmas crazy season everyone in the media world is right now.

Let’s get about it and start handing out the wins and losses of the week.

Good PR

Tesco

If you can all turn your hymn books to page 307 and join me in singing the ever-popular “Tesco has risen its profit forecast against a backdrop of the Cost-of-Living crisis”, we can begin.

Tesco managed a difficult comms message very well and so it gets the first Good PR of the week. It may be great PR, but I can’t help but feel that it is not so good for its customers. The retail giant has announced that it is revising its profit guidance upwards.

Brilliant news for shareholders, but not so much for consumers who are still finding themselves paying far higher prices for their everyday basket items. Whilst Tesco is undoubtedly at the forefront of helping the inflation rate drop, I can’t help but feel that if it gave as much love to consumers as it did to its shareholders, then prices could potentially drop even further.

The profit announcement certainly won’t help it in its quest to stay off the radar of the likes of the Competition and Markets Authority which has already fired off a few “Rocket and Feather” pricing accusations at retailers across a variety of industries. Great PR, but one that leaves a slightly bitter taste.

Network Rail

Sticking with Good PR and it is usually around this time of year that rail operators get a carriage full of abuse about delays and cancellations due to soggy leaves being on the line. Step forward Network Rail to address this issue and save us from the leafy drama.

It has announced that, after a successful pilot last year, it is rolling out some leaf-busting new technology to keep them trains running on time. A combination of specialist trains equipped with high-pressure water hoses alongside an army of leaf-build-up-hot-spotting drones will be deployed.

Great PR for Network Rail to a problem that has historically brought it a PR problem every year.

Good and Bad PR

The Government

The Government has had another tricky week in communications. The Conservative Party conference came across as the start of a merger process with UKIP and the less said about HS2 the better.

On the good side of Government communications, the UK Information Commissioners Office had a solid week. It received high praise from a host of usually snarky tech media outlets over its warning to bosses about snooping on employees.

There appears to be a growing trend in companies trying to carry out covert workplace and staff performance monitoring. The ICO made it clear that employees should be made aware of monitoring before it happens.

This will come as welcome news to the work-at-home brigade who stand accused of maybe taking too long on their afternoon “nap” or in some instances, taking their company laptop with them for that “nap”. It is the IT Department monitoring teams that I feel sorry for. Some of the things they must have seen via illegally accessing staff webcams must be permanently burnt onto their retinas.

On the flip side of Government department communications and the Home Office carried out the cardinal sin of releasing a data sheet without checking that all the in-house comments had been removed. Shudder.

An excel spreadsheet relating to stop-and-search statistics contained a reviewer note that labelled some of the data as potentially looking “dodgy”. Before you could say “coming straight from the underground”, the media was all over it and I imagine a junior data analyst received the Spanish Archer.

Bad PR

MG Motor UK

Shall we end this week’s waffle with a dollop of Bad PR for car maker MG?

The electric car industry has had a tough time of it recently. The UK Government has clearly fallen out of love with the industry, there are growing reports of charger-rage at service stations and now MG stands charged with trying to kidnap a punter in one of its electric vehicles.

Glasgow resident Brian Morrison claims he was trapped inside his electric MG as it became stuck approaching a roundabout at 30mph. The news media went on to report that he felt he had been kidnapped, which is a bit of a stretch, but who am I to question adding a bit of elastic to a story in order to gain greater interest?

Our intrepid kidnapee was so puzzled as to what to do that he felt he had no option but to call the police. In what I can only imagine was the lowest value version of the Keanu Reeves film Speed to ever hit Glasgow, the police let him stack the kidnapper into the side of one of its police vans and hey presto, he was rescued.

Brian lived to tell, and sell-in, his tale and he reached the ultimate accolade of getting a mention in this very column.

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

Thanks to Meltwater, Good and Bad PR's data and insights supplier.


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