Is humour not better than punishment in “green” public relations?

I hope the public relations teams at the supermarkets have enjoyed the media’s behaviour in sending journalists to remove wasteful packaging at the tills.  They don’t seem to have anticipated this however, as checkout staff seem bemused or frustrated rather than informed on the issue.  The public response has been disappointingly British – everyone moans about packaging, but we’re too reserved to dump the stuff where it belongs.  Anyway, let’s hope the retailers get the message behind the humour and remove those pointless sleeves at least.

The media response to the London mayor’s hike in congestion charging has been predictable cliches and little imagination.  ‘Gas-guzzlers’ and ‘Chelsea tractors’ are used to stereotype those targeted in the “headline grabbing” plan to introduce a £25 charge for higher polluting vehicles.  This story is bizarre – isn’t this a congestion charge? So why is it being used to switch motoring preferences?  Those who can afford the charge (the owners of Rolls-Royces and Ferrarris or chauffeur-driven big cheeses) won’t be dissuaded by the rise.   And exemptions for low CO2 emitters (like my own Peugeot 107), electric or hybrids means they can still “congest” London’s roads.  These points, and the fact that many residents with modest estate cars will be hardest hit isn’t as much fun as phrases such as “the end of the Chelsea tractor”. As Roger Evans, the Conservative transport spokesman in London, said the move “is pushing people rather than pulling them. It is a tax and is tackling climate change in the wrong way.”

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.