Bad Taste Press Releases

December 4, 2010

Our campaign to improve Press Release standards continues with this headline/story shocker sent out in the last few days:

Headline:   Jingle bowels, jingle bowels, jingle all the way!

Story:  New research reveals more than a third suffer from bowel complaints during the festive season …..

Can anyone better this for a totally inappropriate Christmas PR headline?
Please advise .

Piggy Back PR Can Go Too Far

November 25, 2010

I’m all in favour of a little creative PR – but I’ve just come across one example more likely to bring the perpetrators into disrepute than provide them with any extra media coverage.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of piggy-back PR its something you might want to consider from time to time – but don’t go mad!

Basically, piggy-back PR is  taking a major news story, big event or something everyone’s talking about and using it as a valid excuse to promote your company via a spin off story or different angle.

Anyone in the wedding industry for example – from bridal gowns to jewellers;  suppliers of champagne to honeymoons, flowers and floral hats – should be able to use William & Kate’s big day next April to provide some creative PR for themselves.

The same goes for regular annual events such as the Grand National; the last night of the Proms; Easter, the BAFTAs; Crufts; School Holidays; Wimbledon or even the X Factor grand finale.

Don’t forget the changing seasons  …and, of course, Christmas.

Which brings us to the press release that’s a really turkey!  It certainly knocks the stuffing out of me. Who were the three wise men – or women – who dreamt up this Yuletide cracker? (that’s enough – ed).

Here’s the exceptionally tempting intro for journalists:
Britain’s Christmas Carol season is in crisis as record numbers of Britons battle to keep mid-winter coughs, colds and flu at bay.

Carol Singing Crisis?  Carols? Its still November. They’re only just testing out the town’s Christmas Lights round our way.

Is there ANY basis of fact, in this?  Who nose? (Don’t sniff, that’s my Christmas joke for the year).

The ‘story’ continues:
But help is at hand from Fisherman’s Friend who today launched a nationwide helpline in a bid to rescue singers who are finding it difficult to sing.

Really? Tell Wagner, quick.

And there’s more – trying to justify this codswallop:
The company is offering a free packet of Fisherman’s Friend to carol singers across the UK. It is well known in the singing community that sucking a Fisherman’s Friend lozenge can help to keep voices in tune. In fact, even tenor Pavarotti used them to help keep his airwaves clear.

OK. Let’s stop there. We’ll ignore the rest of it. As will every journalist who gets a whiff of this menthol-drenched rubbish. Shame that Pavarotti isn’t around to check out his reliance on FF before each performance of Nessun Dorma.

If anyone sees this replicated in any newspaper and magazine (in any context other than for a very merry yo-ho-ho) please let me know.

Piggy Back PR is a legitimate PR tool which can work wonders. But, like Sainsburys stocking shelves with Christmas Puddings in mid-September, or inviting your neighbours in for a seasonal drink on Christmas Eve, you can go too far.
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