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Good & Bad PR: Will Smith takes a hit, so does Swatch and Omega’s MoonSwatch

As we head towards the end of March and purposefully towards the historically cringe-worthy April Fools’ Day, let’s take a look at what has been a great week overall for creativity in the public relations industry, oh yeah, and Will Smith.

Bad PR

Will Smith

We must lead with Will Smith for Bad PR. An actor that many of us have grown up loving and celebrating had what I, and many others, are hoping was a blip. We all know what happened, he took offence at a joke aimed at his wife, and lashed out.

Half of the PR world think it was fake and a set-up, the others (myself included) are not so sure and suspect it could have been the real deal. Whatever the truth, a crisis communications plan has had to be rolled out and so far, it is going to plan for the Smith family.

Many are sticking up for Will Smith and saying that he did what is right by sticking up for his wife. However, the part I struggle with is that this kind-of normalises the use of violence to resolve a conflict. Whilst this instance ended with little to no serious injuries, other than to egos, who is to say what would happen if the same thing happened in civvy street and outside the glare of Hollywood. I have faith, in this instance, that Smith will redeem himself though.

Positive PR


Onto something far more positive and although I have decreed that I won’t talk about the negative aspect of the on-going war in Ukraine, I feel I am okay to celebrate anything positive that falls out of such a tragic situation. Step forward MyArtBroker and it successfully auctioning a Banksy piece of art to raise funds for a Ukraine children’s hospital.

MyArtBroker charged zero percent commission and the piece sold for £81,000. The campaign went global thanks to the work of agency; and the likes of The Washington Post, Press Association, Evening Standard and even the mighty BBC, plus many more all ran the story. Kudos to everyone involved.


Another visual story that I loved this week came from agency Don’t Cry Wolf and its client Elvie. The company was raising awareness of incontinence and installed a fantastic billboard in London that depicted a woman doing weighted squats in the gym whilst peeing actual liquid.

I don’t know what the liquid was and nor do I want to. Similar to the MyArtBroker story, Press Association picked the story up and the coverage came flooding in (pardon the pun). Nice one to Patagonia John and the team and big kudos to Elvie for signing off the brave campaign.

Good and Bad PR


Swatch ends this week’s PR wander with some very staged Bad PR that will actually help shift product, so it is actually Good PR.

It announced a collaboration with Omega (a brand by Swatch’s own owners as well) that would see the launch of the MoonSwatch which was basically a budget (£200) designer watch. I have lost track of the number of CEOs from retail companies that have tasked us with “I want a queue around the block at launch” campaign, but this feels very similar.

The global launched caused mayhem in loads of places around world including London, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In London’s case, the Plod turned up, took one look at the queues causing drama and asked Swatch to shut its doors within 30 minutes of opening.

Boom, the headlines were written, Swatch issued some vague sounding statements, and the scalpers seized the day by charging over £3K for those £200 watches over on eBay.

Whilst the story undoubtedly generated further sales demand, albeit in the style of Protein World and THAT campaign, there was clearly an unplanned sting in the tail for SwOmega (TM pending). At the time of writing a number of high-profile watch bloggers (of course these are a thing) have started reporting that there is potentially a quality control issue with the MoonSwatch in that the colours are leaving the product and are accidentally attaching themselves to the wearers.

The world of PR gives and then takes away again for Swatch and Omega.

Got it right or wrong? I am easy to get hold of.

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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