Smack My Pitch Up

The corporate PR world can be dull - no really. Come ride with me as we take a weekly sideways glance at the world of PR in the lofty world of big business, from someone who has been there, done...

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7 November 2012 - 4:43pm | posted by | 0 comments

Obama victory triggers bad news shitstorm

With the world's eyes on Obama, is this a good time to bury bad news?With the world's eyes on Obama, is this a good time to bury bad news?

What a difference seven little days make! Last week, I brought you news of the corporate world going positive PR crazy and no sooner had the pixels settled on our screens than the whole thing went pear-shaped.

Comet went into administration, M&S reported a large drop in profits and my old buddies over at FirstGroup decided to freeze their interim dividend to shareholders because of the West Coast nightmare.

That is the last time that I have a crack at being positive.

Still, fear not comrades, Barack made it back into the Big seat over in the States, with criticism of his promises-to-actual-delivery ratio ringing in his ears; so we can rest assured that he will be doing all he can to improve his legacy and get the US economy growing.

The US elections have dominated the global news and this always means that the more media-savvy organisations will try and sneak out bad news (anyone remember Bury Bad News gate?) and hope they get away with it.

BBC could be one such organisation as they announced that they are going to review the way in which they pay their “big talent” to help prevent tax avoidance.

This is because their big stars were being paid as freelancers and getting their salaries paid as companies rather than individuals, thus reducing their tax bill.

Given the furore that surrounded the likes of Jimmy Carr and a whole host of other celebs when it came to the amount of tax they paid, you can see why the BBC was nervy about putting this out, and maybe factored this into their media plan.

Fortunately, the Telegraph, Guardian and (of course for transparency) BBC News itself all ran the story and it is bubbling along nicely.

The biggest culprit is also the most surprising, and this is Boris Johnson. Bozza is probably the most on-it political type out there and I’m sure his team would have known that they would get the Bury-Bad-News headlines that they have now got by the bucket load.

Bus, Tube and Boris Bike fares have all been increased today, BUT, anyone starting out in the murky world of corporate PR should keep an eye on how Boris and his team turns this around.

The man is not known as Bounceback Boris in parliamentary circles for no reason. He is a one man PR machine and he surrounds himself with possibly the best comms people I have ever seen in action (aside from the Royal comms team).

Finally, let us all take a moment to doff our cap to Dixons who have unleashed some classic Competitor PR101 baiting. Their MD went public with their annual Christmas staff push by saying that they were actively targeting the dying high street brand, Comet, employees.

A lovely note to end on, well done Dixons.

Along with writing a weekly corporate PR column for The Drum, Andy Barr runs the PR agency 10 Yetis

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