Blog: Good PR experiences…

Catherine Sleep | 27 July 2006

… are not to be taken for granted, so hats off to Asda for making it look easy. It’s been a while since I’ve had to contact the supermarket’s press centre so it was with a sense of foreboding that I noticed the distinct absence of a phone number on its media centre web page. This tends to suggest an inaccessible media office only willing to deal with journalists on their own terms and most definitely in their own time.

Still, for want of another option I obediently typed my questions about the chain’s environmental policy in the online form and waited for the phone to ring…. which, before very long at all, it did! And on the other end was no lesser man than Ian Bowles, Asda’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility, absolutely the best person to speak to. What a great system!

The really good thing about Asda’s approach, and it’s taking a while to filter through the industry, is that the press office is aware that as an online publication, just-food needs a quick response. We’re not a daily newspaper with the traditional evening deadline; we publish throughout the day to bring our readers news and comment as quickly as possible. Given that even conventional newspapers are now using their online editions more actively – the Guardian, for example, recently announced it would post stories on its website as they happened rather than waiting for the print edition to hit the streets first, as it had done hitherto – a fast response is fundamental.


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