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Mastercard's #PricelessSurprises Brit Awards nightmare unfolds after House PR demands rile the nation's journalists

Brit Awards sponsor Mastercard got a priceless surprise on the morning of the event when it emerged its PR agency , House PR, offered a Telegraph journalist press accreditation in exchange for publishing promotional tweets.

Nightmare: Mastercard's PR agency prompted unexpected publicity

Telegraph writer Tim Walker sent a copy of an email to news site the Press Gazette which detailed the conditions House PR attached to his press pass, including a requirement on him to publish pre-written tweets with the Mastercard Twitter handle and its #PricelessSurprises hashtag.

The email requested Walker publish tweets before, during and after the event, and guarantee Mastercard’s inclusion in any post event write-ups, both print and online, with hashtags and URLs included.

The agency concluded: “We are really looking forward for you to join us at the awards with us on Wednesday and if you could let us know you are happy with all the above that would be great

“Please let us know if you have any further questions and look forward to hearing from you.”

Dawbell PR handles overall press accreditation activities for the Brit Awards. The Drum was awaiting comment from Dawbell, House PR and Mastercard at time of publication.

House PR won the Mastercard Brit Awards sponsor account in December last year following a competitive pitch, replacing the previous year’s agency, Kaper. The brand has sponsored the event for the last 16 years, and the agency was quoted at the time as saying the agency’s music credentials and experience would “ensure a fresh approach to the sponsorship amplification”.

Meanwhile, Twitter users have been giving Mastercard the kind of priceless Brit Awards publicity they may not have been expecting.

For some members of the media, like Dazed’s digital news editor Zing Tsjeng (who has since been in touch with The Drum to say it was only a joke) and Cosmopolitan’s entertainment director Jacqui Meddings. it’s all become a rather awkward moment.

And in a lunchtime update, House PR has had a change of heart.

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