The Good and the Bad from Today’s PR in Scotland

by Holyrood PR

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Waverley paddle steamer and Queen Victoria cruise linerThe Good

For a good PR opportunity, nothing beats an eye catching photo to help sell your brand and generate some media attention.

It’s clearly an opportunity that the operators of the Waverley steam ship on the Clyde have embraced with full vigour – and today’s newspapers have all featured a striking image of the historic ship being dwarfed on the river by one of the world’s biggest cruise liners.

As photos go, it’s a pretty simple concept but a very very effective one. The frame of the Waverley – one of the world’s last paddle steamers – looks miniscule compared to the 964 ft Queen Victoria and the two are naturally presented as the nautical equivalent of Little and Large.

The scene is so good that there’s little chance it was captured purely by chance, so hats off to the Waverley team for identifying such a good photo opportunity and going for it. They’ve rightfully won some good PR for their quick thinking.

Paul Yarrow meme discussed in The GuardianThe Bad

It’s not immediately clear whether this is a piece of lighthearted PR fluff or a badly managed situation that makes the TV companies look ridiculous. Personally, I’m going with the latter.

The story is simple enough – a pudgy, balding chap called Paul Yarrow is desperate to get on TV so he has been invading the background shots of the big television news channels’ “on location” shots. Fair enough, you may think, but bear this in mind: so far the guy has done it more than 100 times, on channels ranging from the BBC, ITV and Sky News all the way through to Al Jazeera.

The problem is that the channels he’s invaded are intent on just trying to cover the whole farce up – clearly not wanting to associate themselves with a media terrorist that is “doing it for fat people”. It’s as if there’s a collective eye-rolloing that goes on every time Yarrow shows up and they just ignore him.

What they should be doing is promoting him to the hilt. We live in an age where celebrity is everything – regardless of how little talent or ability you have – and the internet is making people like Yarrow into stars (not unlike how Big Brother was making talentless people like Jade Goody into celebrities a decade ago).

The BBC and ITV should be fighting over themselves to get this guy on their programmes. The One Show, ITV’s new Daybreak show…hell, even STV’s magazine programme The Hour could have him on talking about what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Why not give him a regular slot and see how many other TV programmes, films or broadcasts he can crash?

Unfortunately the TV channels seem to be too straight-laced to follow through with it – which, in my opinion is a PR opportunity missed.

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