The PR Guru

December 20, 2010

More4 gets image change as X Factor gets into trouble by OFCOM for its image

More4 have announced that they are reducing the number of daytime TV shows they broadcast in order to focus on showing more high-end American programmes.

To do this they are cutting back from five editions of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart per week to just one. However, lots of people on Twitter are dead set against this, because they like the satirical news programme. Something that is proven even more by the news that it attracts an average of between 60,000 and 90,000 viewers in the UK.

Channel 4’s digital service will now only air the Monday Daily Show Global Edition, marking an end to the 5 year deal which began with More4’s launch in 2005.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said, “More4 will continue to show The Daily Show Global edition on Monday nights in the new year, so viewers will still have the opportunity to see the best of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show in the UK.”

In other news, needing a change of image is the X Factor. The racy final involving Christina Aguilera is being investigated by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

The show saw the star perform a suggestive routine with scantily clad dancers, while Rihanna also gave a raunchy performance when she stripped off her gown to parade around the stage in a bikini.

Ofcom received around 2,750 complaints about the pre-watershed scenes and broadcaster ITV had more than 1,000.

Christina’s routine was the most explicit of the night, with her dancers wearing only stockings, knickers and bras.

Arise “Sir Simon Cowell”

EXCLUSIVE (22/12): Simon Cowell is likely to receive a knighthood during the Queen’s New Years Honours – UK Press e-mails confirm.

So, we could all be seeing Sir Simon Cowell on the X Factor next year.

Sharon Osbourne has today proved why she has a reputation for being outspoken, by saying Cheryl Cole should not judge the US version X Factor.

The star, who was a judge on the UK version of the show for four series until 2007 thinks Nicole Scherzinger would be a much better choice.

She said, “Nicole would be amazing, she’s great TV, has a huge following over in the States and people absolutely love her. Plus she’s beautiful and talented.”

However, Osbourne agreed that Cole is the perfect choice for England because she is the nation’s sweetheart, but in America “most of them have never heard of Girls Aloud.”

Sharon who left the UK show due to rows with fellow judge Dannii Minogue accepts it is unlikely Simon Cowell will ask her to return to The X Factor because she is too old.

She admitted, “I think Simon needs his young girls beside him, like Nicole. If you were king of the world like he is, would you want ugly women around you? He’s not going to want someone with no teeth and psoriasis – that’s why he has beautiful girls around him.”

In other news, people are already excited about the Jeremy Kyle Christmas Special, in which the daytime talk show host makes Christmas wishes come true for children who have had a tough 2010, by taking them to Lapland with him to visit the home of Santa Claus, and a boy meets the Liverpool FC squad.

December 9, 2010

Matt Cardle – When We Collide

That’s all folks….

X Factor is over for another year.

The series ended on Saturday when Matt Cardle beat One Direction and Rebecca Ferguson to win the competition.

His Christmas single, the Biffy Clyro song When We Collide, is already sparking criticism from Clyro fans who are saying that it is a ploy to increase the image of the talent show and urging fans to listen to the original version.

I think one of the problems with X Factor is that the winner always releases a cover song, adding to the manufactured image of the show. It would be good for them to have an original song to sing.

But it’s all in the quest for Christmas Number 1.

Whether Matt will get that honour is yet to be revealed. X Factor haters are once again planning to boycott the prize by campaigning to have other bands beat Cardle to the top spot.

December 7, 2010

The Sound of Silence released to show-up the X Factor

This year’s anti-X Factor campaign to get the winner off the Christmas number one slot has been called The Sound of Silence.

Madness star Suggs and dance acts Orbital and Pendulum were among those who did nothing in a recording studio.

They were recreating composer John Cage’s experimental work 4’33” – the sound of musicians not playing.

This follows the high-profile campaign last year when Rage Against the Machine beat X Factor winner Joe McElderry to number one.

Dozens of musicians were present and the campaign – dubbed Cage Against the Machine – currently has 69,000 Facebook fans.

Cage Against the Machine follows the success of another silent song that recently made the charts.

The Royal British Legion’s 2 Minute Silence video featuring Prime Minister David Cameron, actor David Tennant and Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, reached number 20 in November.

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 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.

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 29, 2010

Take That tour crashes See Tickets, Ticketmaster and other websites

What an amazing PR phenomenon!

90s band Take That (all 5 original members including Robbie Williams) are to perform together in concert for the first time in 16 years.

After only 6 years performing together, Take That had a massive string of hits including Relight My Fire, It Only Takes A Minute, Could It Be Magic, Love Ain’t Here Anymore to name just a few – enough to make a hit West End musical called ‘Never Forget’.

They have become incredibly popular. This blog you are reading now has received over 900 views in a matter of minutes – which is so mindblowing.

And this morning, it seems that it is impossible to get tickets for The Progress tour. I tried, knowing that my mum likes the band and would Never Forget seeing them on stage, but the See Tickets and Ticketmaster websites are both down this morning.

A lot of people have been very annoyed about this, saying that these massive companies are never sufficiently prepared for the high demand of such one off events – and I think they are right. Surely a ticket sales company should be aware that a lot of Take That fans will be scrambling for tickets on the day booking opens, and measures should have been taken to reduce the amount of traffic.

However, it has been revealed that the volume of calls was at least twice the amount than the number that was received for the Michael Jackson concert on sale last March.

See Tickets have a special automatic timer that is supposed to keep people waiting in a queue, but after a while it stops working. I did manage to select the price band I wanted but then it failed again. I can’t even get on Ticketmaster but I know that some people, who have managed to complete the booking process, were rewarded with an incoherant, dodgy reference number.

I have a feeling that all the dates will be sold out completely before dinnertime. It is very rare for an event to attract this many people fighting each other. Even Whoopi Goldberg’s last performance in Sister Act the musical was not as popular – with people joining the day queue at 8:30 and still getting front row.

Please share your Take That stories with us this morning. Did you manage to get tickets? What problems did you come up against?

EDIT – Monday 15th/Wednesday 17th November: On the same day as Michael Jackson’s song with Akon is released, so is Take That’s album Progress (after which the tour is named). It is sure to be a sell-out. The band have been busy promoting it, with a documentary on Saturday on ITV (Look Back Don’t Stare), followed by a performance on X Factor last night – AND on Friday the band will perform The Flood and the classic Take That song – Never Forget, for the first time as a five since Robbie left, on Children in Need.

March 18, 2010

PR Gaffes of 2010: March

As we continue to stride our way into spring 2010 it is fair to say that the Ugg boot has made its way into the fashion halls of fame.

With genuine designer Uggs retailing in excess of £150 (where even employing the “cost per wear” tactic on this price tag pushes it) savvy fashionistas are turning to cheaper high street alternatives.

However, health experts have recently reported a significant increase in number of toe deformities, back and joint ache as well as the possibly of long term joint damage amongst younger women, linked to rise in popularity of “knock off” boots.

With Victoria Beckham’s trade mark sky scraper heels resulting in her undergoing surgery to remove massively swollen and painful bunions only a few months ago, you would have thought that the fashion conscious, no matter how blinded by glitter and sparkle, would have woken up to the fact that just because the celebs are doing it (and looking mighty fabulous in the process), we shouldn’t be doing it as well.

As it stands, Ugg have not really commented, apart from a brief statement to say beware of ‘knock-offs’, and they have to be careful they don’t get dragged into the debate.

However, if they handle this correctly, their brand could benefit from it – but only if they do more to keep public opinion on their side. As it stands they are looking a little complacent.

It was St Patrick’s Day this week, so this post wouldn’t really be complete without some news from the Emerald Isle.

The Marmite debates about Irish X-Factor twins Jedward, which plagued our media for weeks reached new heights this week as the pineapple haired pair were dropped from their label after  their debut single “Ice Ice Baby” failed to impress music fans, despite the help of aging rapper Vanilla Ice.

It not only failed to reach number one (nose diving into the number 12 spot after just a week in the charts) , but also made a disappointing amount of money for the record company.

However, we can all breathe a sigh of relief – Universal have stepped in as Sony were sprinting in the opposite direction and signed up the freaks talented tykes.

Now I’m not sure who made the biggest gaffe here – was it Jedward for getting dropped after one single, or Universal for signing them when they could’ve done us all a favour and let them slide back into obscurity?

You decide 🙂

And finally, some honourable mentions to two PR Guru blog veterans – John Terry and Tiger Woods.

The Former England Captain – who still hasn’t apologised publicly for his behaviour (and whatever you think about the furore, some contrition wouldn’t have gone amiss) – kindly drove into a Chelsea steward as he was trying to get away from the ground on Tuesday night.

And talking of people with a chequered driving history, Tiger Woods announced he’s making his comeback to golf at the US Masters in Augusta next month.

The eyes of the world – and the media – will be on both to see whether they can salvage their reputations over the next few months.

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