Safeway deserves a pat on the back for adopting the only sensible PR
course of action when making a mistake. In discovering that its petrol
station in Yeovil had been pumping unleaded fuel out of four-star pumps
and vice versa for three months, Safeway admitted its mistake,
apologised and offered to take corrective action in the form of a free
AA emission inspection.
The benefit of this approach shows up in the measurement of column
inches. Discounting the headlines and use of logos in two accounts,
Safeway’s comments gained a narrow edge in total column centimetres.
Director of communications Kevin Hawkins was quoted at length in three
of the four articles. There was little that could be done about the
headlines, as with ‘Safeway faces bill for petrol pump blunder’, in the
The story proved to be of interest only to the three mid-market tabloids
as well as the Telegraph. The down-market tabloids ignored the mix-up,
for reasons unknown, but perhaps because Safeway’s response removed any
Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International.
Cutting supplied by Standard Press Analysts.