Mastercard has described a policy by its Brit Awards PR agency House PR to hand out press accreditation in exchange for journalists agreeing to promote the brand in editorial content as “highly inappropriate”.
The brand responded to the fallout from House PR’s disastrous PR strategy of asking Telegraph journalist Tim Walker to agree to publish promotional tweets for Mastercard and guarantee editorial coverage in exchange for his press pass following condemnation from members of the media industry and public.
A statement from Mastercard said: “We have become aware of this situation and have been clear with our agency and attending media. Attendance at the Brits is not, nor has it ever been, a condition of coverage or endorsement. To imply such is highly inappropriate.”
House PR – which is handling PR activity solely for Mastercard and not press accreditation for the entire event – appeared to stand by its actions in a statement released earlier today, saying the its job was to “pursue all coverage opportunities”.
The incident prompted Twitter users to make imaginative use of Mastercard’s promoted #PricelessSurprises hashtag.