The PR Guru

November 15, 2010

I’m A Celebrity – is Gillian McKeith playing a PR game?

The latest Gillian McKeith-related story from the jungle is that her daughter Skylar (who is 16) has told the Daily Mail that she does not like to see her mum being put under so much stress.

McKeith has attracted the wrath of television audiences and fellow contestants, having been nominated for six bushtucker trials despite her list of insect phobias.

Fellow I’m A Celebrity contestant and X Factor singer Stacey Solomon was so concerned by the incident that she tried to convince McKeith to quit; but Gillian won’t because she believes that if she does her television career would be over.

Previous Gillian news, includes the fact that she smuggled banned food products into the Australian jungle in her underwear, breaking strict rules by hiding items including rock salt, garlic powder and soup in secret pockets she had sewn into her knickers. She had earlier been caught with contraband when she slipped salt in to her campmates’ food, resulting in her jungle jail privileges being removed.

This deception is only going to serve to make the public hate her more… a twitter page has been set up mocking the nutritionist here.

Another story from the series was that sprinter Linford Christie was forced to step up to the challenge of a bushtucker trial, after Gillian McKeith fainted live on air.

The thought of taking part in another trial was too much for the famous nutritionist who dramatically collapsed on live television after being told that the public had voted for her to take part in a seventh task.

Hosts Ant and Dec quickly cut to an ad break and then revealed that Gillian had been excluded from the task on medical grounds.

However, McKeith seems to be on the completely wrong programme. She has a phobia of water, heights, insects and more, which is why viewers chose to pick her for the tasks in the first place.

This is why some viewers have begun suggesting that her fainting episode was nothing more than a ploy to get out of doing the task.

Those who voted 50p a time for Gillian to take part in the bushtucker trial will get refunds, ITV confirmed last night.

Linford Christie stepped up to the task instead, after receiving the second highest number of votes – and managed to win 12 out of a possible 13 stars.

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January 5, 2010

PR Gaffes of the Year 2009 (Part Six)

In November, the banks – and the British legal system – did nothing to improve their public standings after the High Court’s ruling on ‘unfair’ bank charges.

Maybe it’s a naive view, but perhaps the banks could’ve done themselves a favour and agreed to the payout – particularly considering our money has saved them from disaster more than once over the past couple of years.

The ruling merely added fuel to the fire of those who claim the legal system is weighted towards those with money.

PM Gordon Brown was also taking the flak, from The Sun and the Daily Mail (surprise surprise) yet again, after fouling up a letter of condolence to Jacqui Janes, mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

I must admit to having some sympathy for him over this, because it should have been checked by someone in his office before it was sent out. And it also smacked of hypocrisy from The Sun, who of course have never spelt anyone’s name wrong 🙂

The highlight of the November headlines for me though was Katie Price’s stint on ITV reality show “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!”

She was looking for some much-needed good publicity – she’d taken a bit of a pounding from the press after splitting from husband Peter Andre – and decided a few weeks in the Australian jungle would help.

The reality couldn’t have been further from the truth, with thousands of I’m a Celeb viewers putting her forward for Bushtucker Trials day after day, until she walked out.

I think she seriously misjudged the feelings of the British people, which surprised me as I think she is usually quite astute. She assumed she could win people round by eating a few bugs and then come out with everyone back on her side.

What a disaster it was! In fact it’s probably been a year to forget for her, because the handling of her divorce from Peter Andre has been terrible.

My advice would’ve been to keep a low profile until everything blew over, which is pretty much what her ex did. Instead she was all over the papers, partying hard and showing off her new beau Alex Reid.

Her lack of humility and dignity has drastically affected her popularity, and her stint in Oz certainly won’t have helped. Shockingly she doesn’t seem to have learnt anything from the experience, judging from Reid’s appearance in the Celebrity Big Brother house this week.

Maybe the message will start sinking in if he’s evicted pretty sharpish?

And finally, onto December, which perhaps saw the biggest gaffe of the lot. But more on that later.

Eurotunnel will be regretting their response to the breakdown of their trains at the worst possible time – the weekend before Christmas.

It’s one thing to have a breakdown, I think that can be explained away as they’ve had a pretty good record since the tunnel opened in 1994. But five???

I was shocked by how unprepared they were though! Surely they could’ve expected a breakdown to happen at some point and have some kind of plan in place?

Unfortunately, they didn’t, and more than 2000 people were stuck in that horrible confined space, with no food, water or air conditioning – just what you want in the middle of a cold snap.

And their offer of a free journey when the problems had been sorted was hardly likely to appease. Hopefully they’ll have a better crisis management plan in place for the next breakdown.

Charlie Sheen isn’t exactly the most popular bloke at the moment either. He’s no stranger to controversy so you would think he’d know how to behave like a grown-up by now.

Allegations of domestic violence against wife Brooke Mueller will not have helped his standing. I’d be surprised if we see Charlie on our screens any time soon.

Despite those cock-ups, there is only one person worthy of the prize in December – and it’s a man who is pretty used to winning trophies.

Tiger Woods had a month to forget after his little car accident on Nov 27. Various women came forward claiming to have had sordid affairs with him over the past few years, putting his marriage to Elin Nordegren and career in serious trouble.

And the sponsors who made him sport’s first billionaire began to leave him in droves. Gatorade, AT&T, Accenture and others have all cancelled deals with him in recent weeks, and games developer EA is supposedly considering doing the same.

Yes, he has taken a big hit – one far worse than the one his Cadillac took – if only he had listened to us before coming out with all those wishy-washy media statements.

So that’s it for another year – hope you enjoyed our review! We’ll be keeping our eye on the gaffes of 2010 – of which there will be plenty – so make sure to bookmark this page and check out our updates.

Or just come back at the end of the year for our next review!

Have a brilliant year everyone, from all at Richard Swancott Associates 🙂

December 4, 2009

Reality TV: useful PR exercise?

Hello again. I’ve been considering reality TV this week, and its role in PR campaigns.

Sadly, I’ll be tuning in to the ‘I’m a Celeb’ final this evening (don’t have much choice in the matter!), and we can be sure whoever becomes ‘King/Queen of the Jungle’ – Gino D’Acampo, Kim Woodburn or Jimmy White – will be all over the papers, radio and TV for the next few days.

For what it’s worth, I think Jimmy White will get really close to winning and then lose out after a dramatic Stephen Hendry comeback 🙂 Or maybe Gino will win.

But whoever wins, what happens next? After the initial coverage has died down, will they be able to maintain their public profile?

Will Jimmy go back to bumming around on the snooker circuit? Will he get a presenting slot on The One Show?

What got me thinking about this was a meeting I had with one of the managers at Oakley Hall, which is where Big Brother’s Freddie Fisher (aka Halfwit) lives.

Now Freddie has stayed out of the limelight to concentrate on his business and launching a career in politics, which is fair enough.

But what of the other contestants? Can anyone remember who any of them were? Usually at least one stays in the public eye, but the show was only four or five months ago and they’ve all disappeared back into obscurity surprisingly (and thankfully) quickly.

So does reality TV have any role in making people celebs anymore? I’m not sure. Whereas a few years ago Big Brother (and the others) were turning people into stars, the shelf life now just seems to be a few days.

The only exception I can think of is Dragon’s Den – even the ones who don’t succeed benefit from the air time devoted to their products, on prime time TV.

As long as your product is a good one it would well be worth applying here – there are lots of stories of businesses the Dragons didn’t invest in, who have gone onto succeed.

And in Levi Roots, the Reggae Reggae Sauce man, surely they have spawned the most successful reality show contestant?

His sauces certainly have a longer shelf life than most BB contestants!

Anyway, good luck for tonight Jimmy, but sadly I think you may have to settle for second place – not for the first time!

Hope you enjoy the battle with Tuffers for a seat on The One Show sofa!

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