The PR Guru

December 2, 2011


Giant super-idiot Jeremy Clarkson has this week caused a media storm with his ill-advised comments about striking public sector workers.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for a few days, here’s the film, which has been watched almost 90000 times since Wednesday.

It’s generated lots of negative media coverage for Clarkson and the BBC over the past couple of days, and it’s still coming. Today’s line is the comments were approved by The One Show’s producers before Clarkson made them.

So who are the main winners and losers from the gaffe?


Clarkson will do pretty well out of this. Let’s face it, he’s no stranger to controversial comments, and it’s almost expected of him these days. My first thought on hearing the news was how cliched and hackneyed his opinions are beginning to sound. He’s got a Christmas DVD to plug and he’s done a very good job of it – and as Brand Republic says here, his publishers are rubbing their hands.

Perhaps we should stop giving his ‘gaffes’ the publicity he’s so obviously looking for?


As of 9.30 this morning, more than 21000 people had complained about the comments! 21000! In two days! Only Sachsgate – the prank calls to Andrew Sachs from Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, which drew 27000 complaints in 2008 – has brought in more complaints, and they came in over two or three weeks. 

While I can appreciate the offence this broadcast caused to the strikers – surely the 21000 could find something better to do with their time?


The One Show, quite rightly, doesn’t get much media coverage and only hits the headlines about once a year, like when Jason Manford quit as presenter in 2010, and the controversy about dog trainer Jordan Shelley in September seemingly used up their quota for 2011.

So they’ve massively increased their coverage in one fell swoop, and will probably see an initial ratings boost too.


Unison, the UK’s biggest trade union, has lead the complaints this week, with general secretary Dave Prentis calling for Clarkson to be sacked and even seeking legal advice on whether to sue and/or involve the police!

Wouldn’t they be much better off concentrating on negotiating with the Government to stop another general strike happening?

And one final loser…

David Cameron. Does anyone really want to be ousted as a friend of Jeremy Clarkson’s?


February 18, 2011

10 Reasons to use PR, part two

Filed under: Uncategorized — richardswancott @ 6:25 pm
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A couple of weeks ago we discussed the main reason for using PR to promote your business – namely it helps you spread your marketing investment.

There are plenty of other reasons though! In my opinion the second biggest reason for using public relations is this:


This is something we are all looking for in business. Getting another person to recommend you to someone else is the Holy Grail really, especially if the ‘someone else’ is a friend or family member.

That’s because the referrer is putting their reputation on the line by saying you are great at what you do, or your product is fantastic. If the opposite proved to be true, they would have egg on their face and their reputation would take a tiny little hit.

Social media has a big part to play here, and that’s why many businesses are cottoning on to the importance of sites like Facebook for generating word of mouth. If they can persuade other people to do the selling, for example by posting your video on their profile, or liking your business’ page, that’s half the battle and will save them a lot of money in the long run.

PR has a big role here though as well, with one major difference – rather than a person making the endorsement, it’s a newspaper, magazine, website or broadcaster. And for that reason, it carries A LOT of weight.

By having your story in a respected national newspaper, like The Times, or an interview broadcast on the BBC, or a feature in a leading industry magazine, you are gaining the stamp of approval from their editor or producer.

They are saying your story is so interesting, so ground-breaking and so relevant that they had to tell people about it by giving you airtime or space on their pages. They knew their readers, their listeners, their viewers would want to know about it.

And they have plenty to lose if their endorsement comes back to bite them. It’s bad enough to lose face with your family or friends – can you imagine what it would be like if that endorsement cost you sales or ratings? Ultimately it could cost people their jobs, or drive that media title out of existence.

So I would strongly recommend looking at raising your profile through PR – it could give you the best testimonial you’ve ever had.

December 16, 2010

Zai Bennett moves from ITV to BBC, hotel is getting publicity from having the most expensive Christmas tree ever and Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress was a PR triumph and has been voted Fashion Statement of the Year

It is hard to know what to think when someone goes from one company to its competitor, but that is exactly what has been making headlines today…

Zai Bennett, the ITV director of digital channels, has been appointed the controller of BBC3.

Bennett succeeds Danny Cohen, who became the controller of BBC1 in October. His BBC start date is yet to be confirmed.

BBC3 had an £88m budget in the year to the end of March. But BBC3’s budget is likely to be cut next year as the BBC deals with the licence fee settlement. With the licence fee frozen for six years, the BBC is facing a 16% cut in funding.

So was it really a wise move for Bennett then? And it begs the question of why de decided to move from ITV in the first place…

He started his TV career in the post room at Carlton Television in 1995, occasionally delivering David Cameron’s post to him when the prime minister worked as the ITV broadcaster’s communications director.

In other news, vying for publicity today, is the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, which has a jewel-encrusted Christmas tree it says is worth over £7m.

The idea came the hotel’s marketing team. The hotel has a tree every year but this year they wanted to do something different.

Items of jewellery studded precious stones are draped on the tree’s branches, along with more traditional baubles and lights. It is the jewellery that dramatically increases the value.

The bracelets, necklaces and watches which adorn the 13m tree contain 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones.

The tree sits in the lobby of the 302-room hotel.

Previous publicity-seeking efforts by the hotel include the creation of a $1m Valentine’s Day package and the installation of what was said to be the world’s first gold vending machine.

Finally, the famous meat dress worn by Lady GaGa at the Video Music Awards (VMAs) back in September has been named as the fashion statement of this year, by Time Magazine.

The magazine said, “If making fashion statements is your primary raison d’être, it’s easy to get bored. Exploding bra? Flamed out. Dress made of bubbles? Please. Using your hair as a bow? Not again. But a dress made of meat — with shoes, hat and purse to match — well, that’s fresh.”

It generated so much publicity for the singer and helped her to become one of the most popular singers of the year.

Eight different waxwork models of the singer were unveiled in Madam Tussauds across the globe this month – all in the unique and spectacular outfits fans have grown accustomed to.

In London, GaGa is a dial icon with the Philip Treacy hat she wore on the Jonathan Ross chat show this year to plug her single Telephone.

December 14, 2010

Image of police is going to suffer due to atrocious illegal actions by officers during student protests

Police launched an internal investigation last night after footage emerged of a man being pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged across the road by an officer during Thursday’s student protest in London.

The grainy video on YouTube does not show the moment Jody McIntyre leaves his wheelchair but shows the 21 year old being dragged to the side of the road by an officer.

McIntyre was interviewed by BBC’s Ben Brown last night.

During the interview, Jody talks of how the media has ignored people like Alfie Meadows, who had to be hospitalised after receiving brain injuries, and what the media reaction would have been if Charles or Camilla were in the same situation. As expected, the presenter completely ignores that and asks whether Jody himself had thrown missiles at the police.

The presenter then later asks whether Jody had shouted anything that would have induced the police to take action.

McIntyre said it was the second time police had pulled him from his wheelchair during the protest. He said in the first incident several officers lifted him from his chair and carried him 100 yards.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan police service said that although no complaint had been received it had launched an investigation: “As a result of media coverage, the MPS directorate of professional standards is investigating the circumstances surrounding this matter.”

There has been mounting pressure on Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson after footage emerged showing an officer policing Thursday’s student protests not wearing identification.

Following the G20 protests last year, during which Ian Tomlinson died after being pushed to the ground by a police officer not wearing ID, Stephenson said it was “absolutely unacceptable” for officers to cover or remove their shoulder tags bearing identification numbers. However, a video taken by one of the protesters at Thursday’s London demonstration clearly shows an officer not displaying her ID.

On The Chris Moyles Show on Radio 1 this morning, Chris Moyles said that the BBC have been flooded with complaints about the interview Ben Brown did.

The complete opposite to this is the news that one of America’s top foreign policy advisors, Richard Holbrooke died following surgery to repair a torn aorta. His last words were “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” He has been praised by the president and all the American government for his passion and dedication to peace.

December 9, 2010

Simon Hughes called Mr Integrity for going against the Lib Dem plans to raise tuition fees

Prince Charles and Camilla had their Rolls Royce Phantom VI limousine attacked on the way to the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium by students yesterday after the news that tuition fees will go up to between £6000 and £9000 starting next year.

Charlie Gilmour, son of Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour, says he didn’t realise what the Cenotaph was as he was swinging on it. He studies History at Cambridge.

Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Paul Stephenson now faces questions regarding the handling of protests.

Yesterday those fighting the rise in fees, Julian Lewis, Simon Hughes, Greg Mulholland and David Blunkett got massive praise for standing against those in power, with Mike Crockart even resigning over it.

On Newsnight on Wednesday Hughes earned the praise of the public for standing by his own view that he is against the coalition’s plans.

Thousands of students took to London’s streets yesterday (#dayx3 or Day X3) in a final bid to stop the change going ahead, despite Government assurances that nothing will have to be re-paid until graduates are earning £21,000 a year.

December 6, 2010

James Naughtie and Andrew Marr make spoonerism relating to Jeremy Hunt and real meaning behind supposed NSPCC Facebook campaign still unclear

The Today presenter James Naughtie and BBC presenter Andrew Marr have both made the same mistake today by introducing the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as Jeremy C*** live on air.

The mistake came just before the 8am news and, following this slip of the tongue, Naughtie struggled to deliver the main news over what sounded like a coughing fit.

Twitter, as per usual, was suddenly flooded with comments relating to the incident with Naughtie and Jeremy Hunt both trending topics.

Naughtie came back on air at around 8.20am, apologising and saying he had “got into an awful tangle just before the 8am news, courtesy of Dr Spooner“.

Dr Spooner was so famous for muddling his words that he gave rise to the term “Spoonerism”.

Also in the news the past couple of days is that a Facebook campaign which was supposed to fight child abuse by asking users to change their profile picture to that of their favourite cartoon character has run into controversy.

The campaign was supported by over 90,000 fans who joined a group and many others that decided to join in after they saw an update from their friends. The NSPCC was supposed to have come up with the idea but has denied any involvement, although welcomes the focus on the work it does.

However, disturbingly, rumours are now sweeping the net that the campaign is actually a smokescreen for paedophiles hoping to narrow down which users are children.

One user posted this warning: ‘The paedophiles have it easy finding the kids this way from a cartoon in your past! Obviously if someone posts Spongebob Square Pants it’s probably a kid, now Betty Boop an adult!’

Finally, fans of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing will probably be glad to hear that Ann Widdecombe did finally pack up her dancing shoes and leave the competition on Saturday.

This leaves rugby player Gavin Henson, psychologist Pamela Stephenson, actress Kara Tointon, TV presenter Matt Baker and actor Scott Maslen (who surprisingly went into the bottom two this week) to compete in the semi-finals next week.

In an attempt to attract viewers, last weekend the programme went with a Hollywood theme. Pamela Stephenson got perfect 10s for her dance to the classic theme from Ghost, whilst Scott Maslen was praised as giving Daniel Craig a run for his money as James Bond.

The show has already begun publicising next week’s event, saying it will be the hardest yet (and taking place over three nights – Friday, Saturday and Sunday) as the couples must learn two dance routines as well as taking part in a brand new dance challenge they are calling the ‘Swing-A-Thon’.

During the Swing dance, the judges will confer and judge Len Goodman will eliminate one couple at a time. When a couple is eliminated they will leave the floor but the remaining couples will keep dancing until only one couple is left.

The first to be eliminated will score 1, the second couple eliminated will score 2, the third couple 3, and the fourth couple eliminated score 4. The last couple still dancing will receive the maximum score of 5.

November 19, 2010

Jason Manford quits The One Show after admitting he shared sexual messages online with fans, and Lord Young resigns after saying we’ve never had it so good

Last night on Twitter a lot of people were upset with the BBC because Jason Manford has quit The One Show.

The presenter admitted that he shared sexual messages online with female fans.

It is only three months since the comic took over the show with Alex Jones after the departure of former presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley to ITV.

The 29 year old comedian handed his resignation to the show’s bosses, saying he wanted to leave to ease the situation surrounding newspaper allegations.

In an interview with The Sun, Manford said: “I have only myself to blame. I have never felt so low.”

BBC bosses are expected to hold talks over the weekend to find Manford’s replacement.

The presenter apologised to fans and his family at the beginning of the month after he was accused of exchanging a series of Twitter messages with a 22 year old female fan.

Manford took over presenting The One Show in August. He was an avid user of Twitter and had more than 200,000 followers – but has now removed his page (for obvious reasons).

Another story, making headlines today, is that the Prime Minister’s enterprise adviser has resigned after making a PR Gaffe. Lord Young apologised after saying most Britons had “never had it so good” despite the “so-called recession”.

He told The Daily Telegraph that the Bank of England’s decision to cut the base rates to 0.5% meant many homeowners were better off.

Following this, he wrote a letter to David Cameron apologising for his remarks, but has since resigned.

Other comments he made include his belief that the forecast of 100,000 public sector job losses a year was “within the margin of error” in the context of the 30 million-strong job sector.

Further to this, he suggested that the coalition government had overemphasised the impact of the cuts to “protect” the value of the pound.

November 15, 2010

Singer James Blunt reveals how he prevented World War III and McCanns sign Madeleine book deal

Singer James Blunt has revealed to the BBC how he refused an order to attack Russian troops when he was a British soldier in Kosovo.

Blunt said he was willing to risk a court martial by rejecting the order from a US General.

However, he was supported byBritish General Sir Mike Jackson, who said: “I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War III.”

The confusion surrounding the taking of Pristina Airfield in 1999 has been written about in political memoirs, and was widely reported at the time but this is the first time Blunt has given an account of his role in the incident.

He was actually the head of the 30,000 Nato troops in his unit.

This story has been revealed as Blunt releases his new album, Some Kind of Trouble, and has obviously been used to try and help promote it – by showing that has fought for his country and stood up for what he believed in.

Also in the news today is the story that the McCanns have signed a book deal to tell the story of their daughter Madeleine’s disappearance, which – at first – could look like a despicable way to make money, but in fact is an idea to try and increase the money in the fund to help find her; which has started to run out.

The Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance was closed in July 2008, but private detectives – hired by the McCanns using the fund – have continued the search.

Kate McCann says that her reason for writing the book is to tell the truth about what happened.

However, the couple were reticient about writing it, knowing what people might think of them for doing so.

October 28, 2010

Boris Johnson – a walking PR gaffe

There is a famous saying, “Always think before you speak”, which is even more applicable to politicians and people in the public eye because if they say the wrong thing then the media instantly have a field day.

However, some people – including Lord Major of London Boris Johnson -, seem to keep slipping up and saying the wrong thing.

Today, Ministers have criticised Johnson for saying he would not allow Kosovo-style social cleansing in London, in relation to housing benefit reforms.

Many of London MPs have expressed concerns over the £400 per week cap that will force people out of the city, but the Lord Major was particularly vocal and vowed that he would not allow it to happen.

However, Vince Cable took offense to this, saying he had used inflammatory language, whilst the Prime Minister distanced himself from the comments – saying that he does not agree with them.

Mr Johnson later said his remarks had been taken out of context – as politicians and celebrities always do in these circumstances.

According to government figures, 21,000 people will be affected by new caps on the amount families can claim for properties across the UK including 17,000 in London.

Read more about this story on the BBC website.

October 25, 2010

Nurse filmed switching off Jamie Merrett’s life support machine and Wikileaks criticised after releasing classified Iraq war logs

The NHS are to take action, in order to regain the trust of the public, after an agency nurse was filmed switching off her patient’s life support machine by mistake. However, the website Wikileaks have announced that they are going to continue releasing classified documents, including Iraq war logs, even though it has been feared that they could put the lives of troops at risk.

Tetraplegic Jamie Merrett asked for a camera to be placed in his home in Wiltshire, after becoming concerned about the care he was receiving.

It captured, just a few days later, the moment his nurse switched off the life support machine and left him brain damaged. This is one of the most awful things that can happen to anybody and something that she should have taken great pains to avoid.

Wiltshire social services knew they were supposed to supply a nurse with training in the use of a ventilator, but the company did not have the ability to check what training their staff had received.

Even now, after two years, the NHS have not sufficiently done anything about what happened. They have obviously been trying to hide it, in an attempt not to receive bad publicity. However, the BBC have now reported the story on the main page of their website (and it is in today’s issue of The Guardian) for the whole world to see, so perhaps the NHS will now start to take action.

Whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks, have today released a statement swearing that they are not anti-American and that they will continue releasing classified documents.

On Friday, the website released 400,000 classified US army documents on the war in Iraq, which publicised a very negative image of the war, especially the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.

The website released more than 70,000 secret files on the war in Afghanistan in July, which infuriated the US and coalition authorities who feared the documents could have put the lives of troops at risk.

At the weekend it was announced that WikiLeaks are preparing to release 15,000 more documents on the war in Afghanistan. The documents that were released before have since been proven as not having put the lives of the troops at risk, although the website did not think of that when it published them.

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