Two Lords-a-Leaping

November 25, 2010

First we’re all told how well off we are: Cue Tory Resignation.

Now another party colleague is eating humble pie for suggesting our sexual appetites –  more or less –  depend on the level of state handouts we receive. 

Lords, MPs (and the clergy)  right left and centre politically speaking. are apologising for….what?  Political gaffes. PR cock-ups. None of them, please notice, actually says they were wrong. 

No, just sorry they said it out loud.  Or, in another famous case, wished to God they’d removed the microphone still attached to their lapel.

PR isn’t just about finding good days to bury bad news its finding enough sticking plaster to gag  friends, allies and colleagues  from opening their mouths too often. If at all.

Well done Howard. You won’t be the last to take flight at the first whiff of critical grapeshot.

Strange, but I actually developed quite a liking for the mansion-owning old duffer who, when confronted by a detailed analysis of his extreme Parliamentary expenses, answered his critics by claiming they were merely jealous he had more money than them.  

Well done to you, sir!

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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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