The PR Guru

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.

November 25, 2010

McDonalds try to improve image by introducing a degree course for managers, UK snow could mean businesses need to work even harder on PR, and railway changes are bad PR for government as it is travellers who must pay

Today it has been revealed that McDonald’s is introducing its own degree course in business management for its restaurant bosses in the UK.

The foundation degree, which will be accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University, marks the company’s latest move into education, following the launch of an apprenticeship scheme 18 months ago.

Senior vice-president, David Fairhurst, says it challenges “snobbish” misconceptions about McDonald’s staff.

The degree is a customised version of Manchester Metropolitan University’s management development programme.

It will mean that McDonald’s employees will be able to get a nationally-recognised qualification without leaving their jobs.

McDonald’s is set to publish a company education prospectus as well, after it was given awarding body status two years ago, allowing it to develop and award its own qualifications.

The department store Harrods set up a degree course for its staff, in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University.

Microsoft has its own qualifications which were awarded to about 17,500 people in the UK last year.

In worse news, last weekend was supposed to be the busiest of the year for Christmas Shopping, with the traffic free shopping day (also known as VIP or Very Important Pedestrians’ Day) taking place on Oxford Street and Regent Street in London, but people are continually being put off from going out to the shops because of the snow. Snow is threatening to make it so that retailers do not benefit on what should be an extremely lucrative time of the year.

It seems that is going to be more important than ever for the retailers to get their PR right and make it more enticing for people to go around their shops.

Lastly though, in more bad PR for the government, they have announced plans to spend £8bn on Britain’s railways; buying about 2,000 new carriages to tackle overcrowding, electrifying some lines and pressing ahead with the Thameslink programme; but it is passengers who must pay more for tickets for the investments.

So we are having to pay ourselves for the changes, which seems unfair in this time of recession, when the government could surely help to fund these plans – plus, the work won’t be completed until 2019, with a few changes coming into place in the coming months.

November 19, 2010

Chris Brown turns bad PR into positive PR by completing community service to a high standard, and Glee has become such a phenomenon that a UK tour has been announced, but will See Tickets and Ticketmaster be able to cope this time?

US singer Chris Brown has earned the praise of a judge in Los Angeles, and of the press in return, by consistently completing his community service work.

The 21 year old was given five years of probation last August and six months of community labour after pleading guilty to assaulting pop star Rihanna.

Brown, recently seen in the film Takers alongside Matt Dillon, Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen has been cleaning roads and removing graffiti in his home state of Virginia.

On Thursday he came in front of the judge who said “Out of thousands of probationers, no one has done a better or more consistent job than you have.”

This comes as much needed PR at a time when Brown has almost completed the domestic violence counselling he was required to undertake and could soon be a free man.

Brown was arrested in February 2009 after attacking Rihanna, his then-girlfriend, on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

The singer, whose hits include Run It! and Kiss Kiss, later said he was ashamed of his actions and seems to have proven that to be the case.

Other massive news today is that the American TV series Glee, created by Ryan Murphy for Fox, has announced a live concert tour of the UK which will take place next summer.

The cast will perform two dates at London’s O2 Arena on 25th and 26th June and at Manchester’s MEN Arena on 22nd June, with performances from stars such as Lea Michele and Cory Monteith.

Glee has become such a phenomenon that all the shows stars, including Matthew Morrison, are now famous throughout the world and they know that this tour will be a guaranteed hit. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday 26th November and will cost between £45 and £55.

The news was revealed on Fearne Cotton’s Radio 1 show.

The show will feature songs from the Emmy award-winning programme including Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind, Britney Spears’ Toxic, Kelly Clarkson’s My Life Would Suck Without You and, of course, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.

However, in my opinion this is not enough dates, because there are lots of Glee fans and, knowing how popular the Take That concert was, I think MANY MANY fans will be disappointed. I am sure See Tickets and Ticketmaster will crash again.

November 17, 2010

Dancing with the Stars PR news – Jennifer Grey wins, Brandy unfairly eliminated, angry viewer shoots TV; and Royal Wedding PR news – memorabilia sales to help businesses and the couple marry the same day Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun did

It’s THAT time of year again – when TV companies show a wide-range of reality TV programmes like X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and I’m A Celebrity. Well, the U.S. is no different. A Wisconsin man has took his anger at the new series of Dancing With The Stars to the next level. He blasted his TV with a shotgun after watching Bristol Palin’s routine, sparking an all-night standoff with a SWAT team. He felt Palin was not a good dancer. He went to his bedroom and returned to the living room with a shotgun and blasted the TV, then pointed the gun at his wife, who managed to escape and call police. As well as this, Brandy – who was top of the judge’s scoreboard – got knocked out of the competition despite being the best dancer on the show.

(EDIT 24/11) – Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey, who starred as Baby alongside Patrick Swayze and did ‘that lift’, has won Dancing With The Stars, to the delight of many viewers. Her success seems called for since she starred in a film about dance, but did this give her an unfair advantage to begin with and should she have won? She is certainly popular, but she did star in the Hollywood Blockbuster

(PARAGRAPH ADDED 23/11) Today it has been announced that Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry on 29th April 2011, which will be a bank holiday. This, however, has caused Adolf Hitler to trend on twitter, because they are tying the knot the same day he did. In fact, when the Prince marries it would have been Hitler’s 66th Anniversary with Eva Braun. Whether this will affect the way the wedding is perceived I don’t know. What is known is that the ceremony will take place in Westminster Abbey.

“I predict a riot. I predict a riot.” (Kaiser Chiefs, I Predict A Riot)

Many retailers, including Internet giant eBay, won’t be needing any PR in the coming weeks, as expected demand for Royal Wedding memorabilia is sure to keep money coming in.

The engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton has left shop owners happy as they hope many will want to buy goods based on the Royal Wedding.

At a time of spending cuts and recession, it is hoped next year’s ceremony and all the public excitement will give the UK economy a much needed boost.

Retailers have already started to get in on the action with the release of hundreds of products – the like of which has not been seen since the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana in 1981.

Within moments of yesterday’s announcement, the Internet was being flooded with items featuring the young couple – who are set to wed next year.

The appetite for memorabilia in America – where the Royal Family are viewed with wonder – is also likely to be strong, with the prospect of a new glamorous figure in Kate to attach to.

Yesterday, the Natural Sapphire Company in New York immediately started work on a replica of the engagement ring – which was the one that Prince Charles gave to Diana when he got engaged.

Asda was one of the fastest to rush out products, with souvenir mugs of the couple and the date of their engagement in store from today.

Domino’s Pizza are another, and are offering couples called William and Kate free garlic bread with their order.

The couples will get their free bread today or tomorrow so long as they can prove they are who they say they are with photographic ID when they collect their orders in store.

The bookmaker Paddy Power today ran a press campaign urging readers to bet on the month the wedding will take place. It will refund losing bets if it rains on the day. Also, betting agencies have stopped people from choosing July as the month the couple will marry – as this seems the most likely and has been suggested by a source close to the couple.

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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