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?


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.

October 5, 2010

Is getting Russell Brand on Newsnight a PR mistake?

On Friday, the BBC put comedian Russell Brand as the main guest in a programme where you would normally expect senior politicians to appear. The BBC could have been desperate to attract a new audience to the show; the several million old Jonathan Ross viewers who now have nothing to look forward to watching.

Two years ago, Russell Brand was the subject of a scandal involving a telephone call he made to Andrew Sachs, which left him leaving the BBC in shame. On Friday they seem to have considered him newsworthy enough to be the main interviewee on Newsnight.

The programme is supposed to be a news and current affairs programme involving the cross-examination of senior politicians.

Now, the reason he was there was because he has a new book out, which apprently mentions Liam Gallagher from Oasis. He was in a recent airport fight with a photographer, defending his girlfriend (Katy Perry).

Newsnight presenter, Emily Maitlis, actually mentioned the Andrew Sachs incident and descirbed it as a piece of media history, which shows that they were obviously trying to make Brand seem like more of an important figure.

The interesting thing about Newsnight is that the BBC are trying to attract a younger audience and to keep them watching BBC programmes.

October 17, 2009

Update: when it’s best to keep your mouth shut

Charlie Brooker has put together an excellent response to Jan Moir’s column in The Guardian today…

To think the Daily Mail should be on the wrong end of an avalanche of complaints to the Press Complaints Commission, after the nonsense they stirred up for Russell Brand & Jonathan Ross last year.

Bet those two are following this story with interest…

Unfortunately the PCC can’t uphold our complaints, because apparently they don’t deal with third party complaints. The only complaint they would uphold is from Stephen Gately’s family.

Talking of which, if the column itself wasn’t bad enough with its blatant homophobia, then what about the timing? Stephen Gately hasn’t even been buried yet. His funeral is at midday today.

Disgusting really. Jan Moir: hang your head in shame.

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