Avocado, Ryanair and the power of PR

The humble avocado is having a great time right now. Sales have gone through the roof and it is the superfood of choice. Chia seeds and goji berries have come and gone but the green Mexican fruit is having a revival on a par with a returning 1980s pop band. The latest research shows that supermarket shoppers spent £142 million on avocados in the last year - over £9 million more than the £132.7 million spent on oranges.And do you know why? Well it’s the power of good PR.

PR is the reason we are seeing avocado on toast as an option at hipster restaurants and why retailers include it in sandwiches you would have never dreamt of. But have you seen any advertising for the green goddess of the fresh produce world? Have you seen a poster or a billboard? Has an e-mail dropped in your in-box telling you to buy more?

Probably not. No, the avocado has seeped into our consciousness and onto our dinner plates because it has had good PR. It’s good for you, its tasty, its cheap and it contains good fats.

A spokesman for the Peruvian Trade Office, which helps promote Hass avocados, put soaring sales down to the ‘unprecedented ‘ media coverage which has given shoppers new appreciation of their ‘ many ‘ health benefits. In other words, they haven’t had to spend a penny. Compare this to the thousands spent by other international bodies tempting us to buy New Zealand lamb or California raisins.

Like all good PR, the avocado has benefitted from word-of-mouth and the healthy backing of social media influencers. People like Joe Wicks and Deliciously Ella have been harking on about the power of avocados for some time. It helps, of course, that all the above is true – they are healthy, relatively cheap and full of so-called good fats. But the backing of a good-looking person can certainly help with the story behind the humble avocado. It’s simply great PR.

Avocado Magic

Someone who has not been experiencing good PR of late (perhaps he needs avocado magic…) is Michael O’Leary. The outspoken chief executive of Ryan Air has been in the press a lot of late and not for good reasons. His low-cost airline is in danger of losing its number one crown as it cancels hundreds of flights because it had cocked up with its pilots’ holiday rotas. Every day there is a different headline, another tale of woe. In his typical style, however, O’Leary has made the situation worse thanks to his own braggadocio. Most lately he’s had to issue a grovelling apology to the pilots that still work for him.

The boxer Mike Tyson used to have a saying: “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face.” Well, Michael O’Leary is being punched and it’s his own hubris that is to blame. Ryanair clearly does not have a crisis PR plan in place, or at least one that is capable of reversing some of the harm that is being done to the brand.

At the recent Let’s Do Business Expo in Hastings PRG’s own account manager, Martyn Leek, gave his top tips for dealing with a crisis with PR. These were:

  • Don’t panic – no comment is not good enough
  • Be honest – simple but so many businesses don’t do it
  • Accentuate the positive – don’t let a drama turn into a crisis

PR is a multi-faceted discipline and a powerful one. It can deal with negative and the good. But it takes an experienced hand to do it and avoid its many pitfalls. PRG has a long history in PR.

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