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Good and Bad PR: We celebrate Good PR with a slice of chocolate Caterpillar cake this week

Grab a drink and hold on tight as we go for another jolly romp through the world of Good and Bad PR.

Another week of political scandal has flown by and although Boris has flown off to try and save us from Russia, God help us all, he has not been able to shake off his various domestic issues. As the problems pile up for our ragged-haired leader they do present opportunities for a brands to carry out a bit of a “Jo Moore”.

Bad PR


With Russia on the brink of an invasion, the Conservatives on the brink of an implosion and the Bank of England worrying us all about inflation, Tesco seized the chance to sneak out a double whammy of bad news. First up the retail giant announced that it was going to close down Jacks, its discount supermarket concept stores with a potential loss of 1,400 jobs.

Tesco must have been happy with the media reaction and decided it was a prime time to sneak out more bad news because the very next day it announced a further 1,600 jobs were at risk because it was going to scrap overnight restocking - 3,000 jobs potentially gone in two days triggered a slight ripple in the news agenda, but not the swathe of negative headlines you may have expected if this had put this out during a slower news agenda. Bad PR but good comms work.

Good PR

Jack Sweeney

Nineteen-year-old University of Florida student, Jack Sweeney got global headlines this week thanks to a sinister sounding, but entirely legal, flight tracker tool that he set up.

The cheeky scamp started dedicated social media accounts for the private jets of various A-list business celebs such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates. Elon Musk was the first to bite and asked that Sweeney took down the account because of the security risk. Musk offered $5k and Sweeney spotted his opportunity and asked for $50k. It seems that despite Musk having a legitimate security concern, the global media positioned the student as a plucky underdog and admired his actions.

A special nod of appreciation goes to the lad for mentioning that the $50k may even be used to part fund a new Tesla car. Good effort sir.

Good and Bad PR

The Department for Health and Social Care

The Department for Health and Social Care has had a topsy turvy week on the communications front. It deserves Good PR and huge praise for the brilliant headlines it generated for the national roll out of the Soup and Shake diet, as part of its campaign to address and reduce Type-2 diabetes.

The results from those who have took part in the trials so far can be considered nothing less than a huge success. It is clear that anything that helps reduce the NHS’s estimated £10bn a year spend on treating Type-2 related issues is money well spent. Great work.

However, over on the Bad PR side, the same department had to reveal that nearly £9bn of the money it spent on PPE during the pandemic has had to be written off. I have to be honest and say that I feel sorry for the department because it would damned if it had not tried to do everything possible to protect and save lives, but similarly, it has also been damned for getting it very wrong in places. These are eye-watering numbers and it has been easy for analysts to draw similarities over the amount being raised by the National Insurance increase that is going to be rolled out and the amount lost due to mistakes and errors with contracts, equipment and storage of PPE.

The Department for Health and Social Care comms team has successfully communicated the unprecedented issues that the department faced during the pandemic, but the headlines are still damning.

More Good PR

University of Iowa and University of Copenhagen

Whilst diabetes is a well-known clear and present danger to the NHS, drunken monkeys arrived on the media landscape out of nowhere. Apparently, Vervet monkeys have similar drinking issues as humans. Theirs stems from natural sources such as fermented fruit, rather than human’s which by in large comes from Bargain Booze and White Lightning cider.

Anywho, scientists from the University of Iowa and the University of Copenhagen created a way to therapeutically target the neural pathways that help a monkey (and in future, human) better regulate their alcohol consumption.

No one asked the monkeys why they drink and if they even wanted to drink less but that is by the by. This is presented as a huge scientific break-through and definitely a worthy winner of Good PR, but coming at the end of Dry January, it could maybe have been timed better.

Caterpillar PR

Marks and Spencer and Aldi

Marks and Spencer and Aldi win the final Good PR of this week, together and as one. Colin vs Cuthbert finally reached the High Court and both parties came to an agreement, shook hands and moved on. Of course Aldi fired out a few cheeky tweets and, of course, M&S remained tight lipped and stoic, but we can all rest a bit easier knowing that the battle of the birthday cakes is done.

No details of the agreement have been released, but reports were circulating that Cuthbert was off for a bit of plastic surgery to change his appearance, before coming back to our shelves very soon.

The heart-warming story we all needed this week to end on.

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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