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Good and Bad PR: We hate Marmite and Amazon, we love European Space Agency, Virgin Wines and Jaguar Land Rover

Hey there PR fans, how has your week been? Missed me? Thought so. Fear not, I am back with the latest from the world of hood, and bad, public relations. After an unusual week of positivity and no bad PR in last week’s romp, this week we’re back to earth with a bump.

Bad PR

Just so I am clear, I am very much in the ‘Hate’ camp regarding Marmite and its overall ‘Love it or Hate it’ campaign. Whilst the brand’s social media campaign of last week is nowhere near enough to Hate, I do dislike it and it gets the Bad PR nod from me. If only those in control over at the evil-tasting-meatlike-treacle factory had just given it a few more weeks, or maybe a month after the Weetabix social media brand hit, I think this could have stood a chance. As it was, a great visual was given what felt like a hasty execution, complete with some desperate brand-tagging in replies to its own tweet.

Even Gavin and his oh-so special resin, (aka, Autoglass), could not save this campaign. In fact, Autoglass probably came out of it best. I actually saw the Autoglass execution before I saw the original Marmite one. Hat tip to agency Rise at Seven for that one.

Amazon is back in the (bad) news for its fake reviews thanks to an expose by do-gooder website, and affiliate marketing revenue loving, Which? Magazine. Amazon feels an easy target here; this is not a new story and has already been dragging on for years. The retail giant is throwing considerable resource at trying to combat dodgy reviews, but as anyone who has ever worked in any kind of link-building sector will verify, this is a very big market to try and police – let alone clean up.

Amazon is now at the stage in its brand evolution where any kind of mention can almost guarantee publicity, and I am surprised it is not more aggressively policing this, especially around historical stories. It will therefore be one to watch in terms of how it addresses this trust issue with consumers. An interesting footnote in all of this is that Amazon is one of the brands that Which? Magazine uses affiliate links for in order to monetise its own content.

Good PR

European Space Agency
One thing our industry is very well known for is its sneery nature, and I would only have to mention floating stuff down the Thames for the great and good of the PR world to start dusting off their Blackberries and firing off op-ed pieces to far lesser industry titles. Another PR 101 stunt gaining hate from the PR Gods is the “best job in the world” ad. I have used these aplenty and the media are quick to cite the sheer volume of shares that this kind of campaign consistently gives them.

Therefore, I was delighted to see that the European Space Agency (think NASA but less whooping and more tea consumption) had decided to do its own version with the main difference being that its own job was out of this world. It is my first nod for Good PR.

Virgin Wines
On to another great PR campaign and a bit of positive news for the stock market as Virgin Wines announced that it plans to float on the London Stock Exchange. The valuation is rumoured to be around £100m and given the 2013 (private equity backed) management buyout was £14m, this is a major coup for those involved. The Bearded-Wonder-Branson is nowhere near this other than licensing the Virgin brand name so he also gets some positive lift that is much needed after his Covid dramas in other parts of the group.

Jaguar Land Rover
Finally, let’s give a Good PR badge to Jaguar Land Rover for its announcement of becoming an all-electric car company by 2025. This was not just a win for the company, but it also felt like a free gift for the wider PR community (ourselves included) because of the news-jacking opportunities it presented to brands everywhere.

From e-brands through to car retailers, everyone had an opinion and on days like this you really feel for the inbox of business and retail news reporters. Jaguar Land Rover, on behalf of the entire public relations world, we thank you.

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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