The PR Guru

November 16, 2010

A super-injunction obtained by Take That singer Howard Donald is lifted by the High Court and news that Prince William is to marry has caused people to demand that Windsors pay

Take That are getting a lot of public attention just recently, with the band reuniting as a five-peice for the first time in years.

The latest Take That related story to break on Twitter concerns singer Howard Donald.

IIt has literally just been announced that The Court of Appeal have lifted a super-injunction preventing the naming of Take That’s Howard Donald, who has won an order restricting publication of confidential information by a former girlfriend.

No-one really knows what private information it is that is threatening to be revealed – and what it could do for the band’s image.

Adakini Ntuli, the ex-girlfriend, had hired famous publicist Max Clifford and entered into negotiations with the News of the World.

The court restrained her from doing specified but unpublishable things and prevented her and others from publishing the fact that the injunction had been obtained.

Now, the court has dismissed Adakini Ntuli’s appeal seeking the discharge of the injunction but allowed her appeal in relation to the super-injunction and anonymity issues.

Also making headlines this morning is the news that Prince William is to marry Kate Middleton. The two got engaged in Kenya last month and are to be married in London in 2011. This comes as much needed positive PR at a time when there is controversy over the Prime Minister’s decision to pay Guantanamo detainees compensation (at a time when we have little money to begin with) and the news that David Cameron’s vanity photographer Andrew Parsons was on the public payroll at a time when the Civil Service were facing cuts.

EDIT (Wednesday 17th November): There have been reports today that the UK is considering offering billions of pounds of direct loans to the Irish Republic, saying that they are our neighbours and we have an interest in ensuring they have a stable economy – but can we afford to do this? We have just promised compensation for Guantanamo detainees and now this… We need to be saving what little money we have. Although, saying that, it will benefit us in the long-run.

Also, yesterday, and today, one of the most talked about questions is who is going to pay for the Royal Wedding? One common answer is that The Windsors should because they are extremely wealthy, and the country is not. This debate has been fuelled by anti-monarchy group Republic – but even those in support of the monarchy are also calling for the same thing. Having a lavish ceremony at a time of recession would be wrong, and would send out the wrong messages to the world – and this is going to be a worldwide event.

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January 1, 2010

PR Gaffes of the Year 2009 (Part Four)

July wasn’t a good month for media tycoon Rupert Murdoch – his News Group Newspapers organisation had to fork out £1m to stop phone-hacking victims like Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes and Professional Football Association chief Gordon Taylor speaking out.

Apparently journalists working for the group at newspapers like The Times and News of the World – usually at the forefront when exposing other PR gaffes – had hired private detectives to tap phone lines and snoop on public figures for potential stories.

Can we really trust the stories on the pages of Murdoch’s papers anymore – if in fact we ever did? And are Murdoch’s rivals doing the same thing?

Meanwhile, Joanna Lumley heaped further humiliation on the Government – and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas in particular – after receiving a heroes’ welcome in Nepal.

In May, she had forced the Government into a U-turn on Gurkhas’ rights to live in the UK.

The biggest PR gaffe in July though was by United Airlines, who will surely now regret their treatment of Dave Carroll‘s guitar.

The Sons of Maxwell folksinger was travelling to Nebraska as part of their national tour, and watched in astonishment as baggage handlers threw his instrument onto the tarmac at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Receiving no help from UA staff on the day, or their customer service department for the next nine months, he wrote several songs and posted them on YouTube.

The first, called United Song #1 (now known as United Breaks Guitars), was posted on July 6th and had 150,000 hits on the first day alone!

It eventually earned over 5m hits, thousands of column inches of bad publicity, and sent the airline’s share prices into a temporary nosedive.

I bet they wish they’d just bought him a new guitar now!

So that’s the award for July sorted out. What about August?

Well it wasn’t a good month for Rupert Murdoch either, amid reports he was planning to charge to read stories on his newspapers’ websites. Hardly endearing himself to the general public is he?

The Government faced another backlash after the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali alMegrahi – apparently to curry favour with Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

Another example of them not covering themselves in glory when communicating with their stakeholders, the voters.

And the ruling body of athletics, the IAAF, didn’t exactly present a caring, competent image when dealing with the Caster Semenya gender row.

But the prize for August simply must go to Kerry Katona, who lost a lucrative advertising deal with Iceland after she hit the front pages again following allegations of cocaine abuse.

The mum-of-two was filmed allegedly snorting cocaine at home, while her daughters slept in the next room, and as a result lost her £250,000 deal with the supermarket chain.

Now while she may have been filmed in secret, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for anyone who does that while looking after their kids.

She has since made a statement apologising for her actions – good move – but no mention of going into rehab or receiving treatment for her addiction.

Maybe the August prize will help her out the next time she’s tempted to reach for the mirror and the rolled-up tenner.

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