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Good and Bad PR: We salute aliens, Rishi and Joe Exotic. No plaudits for smartphones, the Royals and Molly-Mae

Good morning to all you public relations heroes and villains. The week started so positively, courtesy of a bit of nice weekend weather, but as the temperatures plummeted, so, it seemed, did the positivity. Gosh that’s a bit deep for a 44-year-old PR man!

Anyway, onto the job in hand, who has dominated the media for the right reasons and who has had a “bit of an Ant Middleton” of a week?

Good PR

Aliens get the nod for Good PR this week. I will admit it; I believe that there are other life forms out there, so I was delighted when my own locality, Gloucestershire, got lobbed a meteorite from the boss creatures up in space. Sunday’s lunar litter landing dominated the national media and warnings we’re given to not touch any of the space rock that had landed (rumoured to be in the very affluent Cheltenham area, they get all the good stuff).

Before you could say “to infinity and beyond”, busloads of space-nerds were being politely reminded of the national lockdown and sent back to where they came from, meanwhile, the good folk of my shire, myself included, had a cheeky peek around the garden to see if the space rubbish gave us any special powers… sadly, I can report no super powers have been discovered. I feel this story really sums up the feel-good factor that hit the UK this weekend; a jolly romp involving aliens, space rock and country folk.

Rishi Sunak
Talking of feel-good factors, at the time of writing we are waiting for the current UK head of morale, child chancellor Rishi, to deliver his Budget. As seems to be the wont of this current government, the Budget has been subject to refinement and development via public reaction to leaks and this has, actually, positively affected the housing marketing.

Estate agents and mortgage lenders were expecting February to be a bleak month on the stats front, but house prices actually lifted and Rishi is being credited for this with his decision to extend the Stamp Duty holiday. It remains to be seen what else he will offer, but the general vibe is that this will be a feel-good Budget, aimed at dragging the UK economy out of the doldrums.

Bad PR

You are most likely reading this on your smartphone and this week our favourite hand-held device got a right kicking from Kings College London. Apparently, a third of “young adults” show signs of addiction to their phones. Just a third? I would have guessed it is much higher than that, or maybe it’s just the PR industry?

Of those surveyed, 18.5% said that they use their phone for over five hours per day, which would beat even the most budding Patsy and Eddie out there. The study was part of an investigation into the cause of sleep-related issues and our trusty smartphones are the chief culprit. It may be time to go for that digital detox, but not until you have finished reading this article, obviously.

Royals vs MeghaHaz
I feel it would be rude of me to not pass comment on the Royals vs MeghaHaz story because it all seems to be playing out via PR people and leaks, but I don’t want to add to the hate on either side. All I would say is that both teams don’t come out of this well and, surely, we all prefer the times when dignity was the word of the day and The Royals (current and exiled) kept their thoughts to themselves. I, for one, am not looking forward to the Oprah spectacle and the war of words that will play out in the media afterwards. A very sad state of affairs for all involved.

Molly-Mae Hague
Speaking of sad states, let’s jump on over to the murky world of influencer marketing. As an agency boss I really wince at the size of the payments we make to some of the “influencers” used by our clients. Love Island’s Molly-Mae (who we have never worked with) stands accused of being the latest Instagram-pouter to have breached the ASA guidelines around competitions.

It is claimed that she took the Matt Hancock-esque approach (allegedly) to choosing a winner (I jest, I know he is innocent before you all start) and then lied to the ASA about it when being grilled. Given the recent negative headlines around influencers moving en masse to Dubai for work and constantly posting undeclared ads, it may be time for them to take a break from the headlines and use their powers for some good.

And one last bit of good PR

Joe Exotic
Enough of that, let’s end on a high. One of the undoubted successes of the lockdown(s) has been Joe Exotic. At the time of writing, he is promising a massive announcement (3 March) that will “dominate” the media.

I don’t have a clue as to what he is going to say, but he is a (bad) PR machine who continues to dominate the media despite being sentenced to 22 years in jail. One to keep an eye on.

Have I got it wrong? Let me know over on the Twitter, @10Yetis.

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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