Good and Bad PR: Let’s be positive! Only Good PR this week

Good morning public relations fans and welcome to what feels like another very tough week for the UK.

Despite us narrowly avoiding slipping into a recession, the unemployment rate remaining largely as it was, house prices actually lifting slightly in December, wholesale energy prices dropping, petrol and diesel costs continuing to fall… oh, hang, there is lots to be positive about, so lets get cracking through this week’s Good and Good PR.

Brandalism

Let’s start with some Good PR for japesters and no, I don’t mean the ladies and gentlemen of the internet who were singing their song during that Match of the Day broadcast with Gary Lineker and friends. No, the first Good PR goes to climate “hacktivists” in Bristol who swapped normal car billboard adverts for spoof ones highlighting the ills of driving on the environment.

Climate activist group Brandalism admitted they were behind the stunt and it follows on from 400 other similar “hacktivism” tactics that they deployed across France, Belgium, German and now, the UK. I feel like the ad executions could have been a bit stronger and more hard-hitting, but what do I know? Given the work got big-ticket pick up, it more than did the job.

Marks and Spencer

Sticking with Good PR and the UK’s favourite food shop of the posh, Marks and Spencer, announced that it was creating 3,400 new jobs via 20 new store openings. Eight of the new stores will carry all of the M&S goodies including clothes and alike and the other 12 will be food halls which are the element of the business that has basically kept it afloat for the last few years.

M&S has had a topsy-turvy time over the last 10 years and to see it coming out fighting like this gives everyone a boost. What is a particularly nice part of this story is that they are not all going to be situated in “out of town” spots which can actually drag traffic and footfall away from dying town and city centres. Some of the new stores are going in old Debenhams buildings which is great for other city shop owners as well. Brilliant work M&S comms teams.

Fortnum and Mason

Continuing the theme of posh food shopping and everyone’s favourite department store, Fortnum and Mason announced what we already know, the rich are getting richer and there is no cost-of-living crisis for its own customers. It announced that it has had a bumper Christmas of trading with profits for the year up at £6.1m compared to a £2.7m loss in the previous year.

I am doing Fortnum’s a great disservice with my gentle ribbing about its wealthy customer base given that it is actually a huge tourist magnet and helps to bring a lot of money to the rest of the retailers in and around its location in London. The brand that is probably most well known for its iconic hampers said that the return of in-store shopping post-Covid is one of the main reasons for its return to profit.

I particularly liked the quote from its CEO Tom Athron who subtly stuck two posh fingers up at city analysts by saying, “In a world where we thought . . . that shops were going to be dead for ever, for us and the industry it has proved that actually shops do remain incredibly important to customers at important times of the year,”. Nice one F&M!

Office for National Statistics

Ending on another high and the Office for National Statistics said that the consumer prices index (the measure of inflation) had dropped slightly which means, in theory, clothes and food prices should also begin dropping.

A quick look at supermarket prices remaining high tells us that we are still in the highest inflation period of the last 40 years, but at least it is the start of, hopefully, more positive things to come.

Dispatches

Mentions in dispatches this week goes to Rightmove for its monthly house price index contributing to the positive economic update across the UK, comms consultancy Schwa for its ChatGPT newsjacking and easyJet getting global pick up for announcing a new set of flying routes.

For any less than bullish PR folks out there - this data analysis from the good people at Meltwater shows that the new routes announcement from EasyJet performed admirably! Beautiful isn't it? PR working before your eyes...

If I was going to do a Bad PR this week, it would be for every agency that piggybacked on the entirely made up, complete bullshit, “Blue Monday” PR shizzle for their clients. People are having a bad enough time of it as it is, without being reminded. Have a word.

There we have it. Have a bonza week y’all.

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

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