The PR Guru

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.

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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 9, 2010

X Factor’s controversial contestants get booted off the show – when will Widde go from Strictly though?

This year it was thought that Wagner would win the X Factor and Ann Widdecombe would take the Strictly trophy, due to the public wanting to show that the talent shows are not always necessarily about talent.

Well, this was finally proven wrong this week when Wagner was evicted from The X Factor by the judges. However, Ann Widdecombe is still in Strictly – having avoided being in the bottom two for yet another week. Still, it looks like everyone on Facebook and Twitter are getting behind the fact that Scott Maslen, Matt Baker, Kara Tointon and Pamela Stephenson should be in the final.

Last night, Katie Waisel, who was hated by the public, and Wagner were sent home from the ITV talent show X Factor in a double eviction.

Wagner performed a version of Nat King Cole’s 1951 hit Unforgettable.

Ahead of last night’s show, a Facebook group called Rage Against the X Factor had more than 20,000 supporters. And Wagner has become the focus of a campaign on the U.S. website votefortheworst.com.

Katie Waissel was recently in the news because Treyc Cohen got knocked out of the TV show, in favour of the singer – who keeps forgetting her lines when singing.

Cheryl Cole refused to vote and let Treyc go, which has obviously resulted in an investigation.

Cole’s refusal to cast her vote for either of her acts during Sunday night’s results show sparked more than 1,000 complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom, ITV and The Sun. Why she didn’t just chose someone I will never know…

Host Dermot O’Leary tried to make her, telling her she was expected to cast a vote as one of the show judges, saying: “This is part of the role.”

Mr Cohen, Treyc’s father told the newspaper: “It’s a fix. It’s as simple as that. I have no idea why Treyc is out. She was easily the best singer and should not have lost to Katie.”

Even Treyc herself has admitted that she “put [her…] all into it, so if it was based on that then, yeah, I definitely feel I should have gone through.”

Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh opted to save Katie, despite saying she was the weaker singer.

November 1, 2010

X Factor versus Strictly Come Dancing – with news on Holly Willoughby’s pregnancy and Amanda Holden’s Tesco advert

Fighting for viewings this weekend, both Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor chose to do Halloween specials this Saturday.

Celebrities on the BBC1 Ballroom and Latin dancing programme wore spooky costumes, plenty of face-paints and really got into the spirit of the event – making lots of great photo opportunities for the press. The judges held up pumpkin-shaped voting cards and the whole studio, including the band, really embraced the occasion.

In contrast to this, X Factor hardly did anything near as spooky, even though it was promised that it would be a Halloween episode. This left me, and I presume many other fans, extremely dissapointed.

However, Strictly also let-down many fans, because it was speculated that Ann Widdecombe would make her entrance riding on a horse, when in fact this did not happen and she was simply dragged around by professional dancer Anton DuBeke. This was particularly unimpressive considering that she had been flown down from the rooftops the week before.

Many people have suggested that this might mean the end of the politican’s time on the show – just as magician Paul Daniels lost his appeal after a while.

Yet, where X Factor seems to have succeeded is in its promotion of judge Cheryl Cole’s new single Promise This, which has leapt into pole position in the singles chart and become the biggest-selling first week non-charity single of the year.

Promise has sold 157,000 copies since its release at the start of week, following Cole’s debut performance of the track on the TV programme.

Other TV judges who have had their work promoted through the programmes include Sheila Hancock – who managed to get increased interest in the musical Sister Act whilst being on the panel for Over the Rainbow, Alesha Dixon – who performed on Strictly last year and may again this year, and also Charlotte Church who tried to promote her single on Over the Rainbow last year too. In fact, even John Partridge was trying to get EastEnders viewers on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s casting programme.

It seems that getting the offer to be a TV judge is great for publicity.

And Dancing on Ice judge Holly Willoughby has just announced on This Morning that she is pregnant again… getting a tweet from Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden – who is to star alongside Tesco couple Fay Ripley and Mark Addy in the supermarket’s Christmas television campaign created by The Red Brick Road.

EDIT: Alesha did, as predicted, perform again on Strictly – singing her new single ‘Radio’ last Sunday – you can see the video here – in attempt to promote her new album The Entertainer, which is released on 29th.

October 27, 2010

The press reveal the horrific truth about what happened to Baby P and we show you how the press always report stories in different ways

Most newspapers have today revealed that information in a secret report showed how Baby P was abandoned by the police, social workers, doctors and lawyers, to be left with his evil mother and tortured to death. This information, as always, was kept from the media because it is incredibly horrifying for anyone to know that that sort of thing can happen to a child. The police should have taken action to ensure that this did not happen and quite frankly I am shocked that it was allowed to.

The media always manage to find out this information in the end and when they do they tend to try and find a way to report it in a different way. Our PR Coaching Programme, has been designed to help you tailor your press releases to match what the newspapers/magazines are looking to publish – just as a jobseeker should always adjust a C.V. to match a job specification. Different newspapers will always want to publish things from their own perspective.

So, it is no big suprise to see that they are all handling the news about the UK’s unexpectedly strong growth rate in different ways, as they struggle to make sense of it.

The Sun chose to compare the economy to an ill patient, saying there is a pulse but no room for complacency. The Daily Mail agrees that the situation is good but The Daily Telegraph cautions people not to be too optimistic and The Daily Express called it a relief.

Russia’s plans to play a role in supporting Nato’s mission in Afghanistan has also made headlines in several papers.

The Independent referred to it as a remarkable turn of events, pointing out that in the 80s Nato encouraged the mujahideen to drive the Russians out, whereas The Times says a return would be hugely emotive.

The Guardian chose to publish a horrific story, by reporting that brown bears in Siberia have been digging up corpses in village graveyards and eating them, whilst The Financial Times reports that supermarkets are offering cut price deals on Christmas food and drink weeks earlier than usual.

In other news, John Barrowman is to star in the Christmas Special of Strictly Come Dancing, alongside other major celebrities (including Fern Britton) who were unable to commit to appearing in an entire series. The episode will be shown on Christmas Day but will be filmed on 20th November.

September 30, 2010

PR cover-ups and puzzlements

Richard Swancott Associates have found some of the attempted cover-ups mentioned in the press in recent days really intriguing and we thought we’d share them with you.

There has been yet another Strictly Come Dancing PR Disaster (to go along with what we were saying yesterday about the Tom Chambers voting scandal) and the supposed/concealed release of a photograph of the North Korean heir.

The PR disaster for Strictly is that Scott Maslan, who begins dancing with Natalie Lowe on Friday night, uses fake tan to enhance his appearance for the live shows. This is clearly a PR stunt and a voting tactic on behalf of himself and the BBC, even though he has had lots of negative press about fake tanning in the past. Rugby player Gavin Henson is another guy who loves to use tanning and the BBC reportedly spend thousands of pounds of dry clean-up bills to remove the stains.

The main issue is that Scott is still filming EastEnders episodes and script-writers are trying to explain how his character got a tan whilst living in Albert Square. One of the solutions they have thought of is that his daughter Penny is in France, so he could have gone to visit her.

Another PR problem is that the North Korean state media have released a photograph which appears to show Kim Jong-un, the country’s heir, but they do not want the rest of the world to know it is him – having not captioned him on the photo and only releasing it to the local media. However, the BBC and other companies have managed to work it out.

This is because it is the world’s first up-to-date glimpse of the young man who is first-in-line to succeed his father, Kim Jong-il, to leadership. Until now only blurred images from his childhood have been released to other countries.

Critics have begun to post negative comments about the photo because Kim Jong-il is well-fed and shown to be in a much better condition than the majority of people in the country.

September 29, 2010

Australia’s Next Top Model PR Disaster

Here at Richard Swancott Associates we are always on the lookout for PR Gaffes to share with you and there seems to be a never-ending supply.

Yet another PR disaster hit the headlines last night, with the news that Australia’s Next Top Model announced the wrong winner during the live final of its sixth series.

This is obviously a PR crisis for the TV show because, in the digital age, the announcement would have been spread across Twitter and the Internet as it happened. It has also found its way onto YouTube, here.

Kelsey Martinovich had been revealed as the champion (through the public voting system that is so popular these days) and was making an acceptance speech when presenter Sarah Murdoch (Rupert’s daughter-in-law, a model and TV presenter) interrupted her.

Ironically, Sarah was completely distraught to have to announce that the real winner was 18 year old Amanda Ware, but Martinovich took the news really well.

The most intriguing thing for us though is the way they attempted to cover up the gaffe by claiming that the lead kept changing and that it was an incredibly close decision. They also said that this was one of the drawbacks of live television.

Fox obviously felt obliged to compensate Martinovich for the mistake and gave her the equivalent of £15,162 and a free trip to the US by way of apology. Ware won an eight-page spread in a women’s magazine, a contract with a modelling agency, a Levi’s campaign, a cash prize, a new car and a trip to New York.

However, this is not the first bit of conspiracy surrounding the show. When Jodhi Meares was host she blundered her way through the show’s 2007 final, and pulled out of the 2008 broadcast with just 48 hours’ notice. It seems that the finals are cursed.

This news brings back memories for me of the 2008 Strictly Come Dancing final, when Tom Chambers won. Many felt that the winner had been wrongly announced then. Let’s hope that the new series, which starts on Friday, has none of these hiccups.

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