Banker bashing is back and George Osborne disables his PR team

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By Andy Barr | Head Yeti

April 5, 2013 | 5 min read

Everyone had a good week? I have just about recovered from the abuse in reaction to my last column about Ed Milibland.

A 'shitter of a week' for George Osborne and his PR team

It was a fair mix to be honest. A few Labour die-hards giving me fantastic abuse, a few Conservatives cheering it on and PR people largely agreeing with what me saying he is unelectable. Anyway, enough of that.

Talking about unelectables, George Osborne has had a torrid seven days.

Accused of announcing a popularist style budget just to win votes, subject to a whispering campaign about him getting the chop, gobbing off about the Philpott case causing Tory facepalms all round and finally, having pictures of his ruddy great Land Rover parked in a disabled bay courtesy of his chauffeur (allegedly) splashed across the media.

In PR terms, George has had a shitter of a week. Being fair to him, the Philpott comment could have worked well for him but it just, well, didn’t.

I suspect he has some elements of the Conservative party briefing against him somewhere as we are now entering the familiar old stages of the media continually attacking a politician and this usually doesn’t end until they go.

George needs a PR masterstroke, or at least something to divert the attention away from his good self.

Kerching, step forward the beautifully named report 'An Accident Waiting to Happen' by the parliamentary commission on banking standards into the HBOS bail out.

The media is, quite rightly, dominated by this report today (alongside George’s Land Rover incident). For me, the facts are amazing but it is also packed with a great deal of rhetoric aimed at getting headlines rather than being a useful document.

In short, the report finds that the bank would have gone bust even without the financial crisis and paints Lord Stevenson (former chaiman), Sir James Crosby (former chief exec) and Andy Hornby (former chief exec) as bungling bankers.

There is all this gumf about the suggestion that neither three should work in the City in banking and be banned from doing so. Word on the street is none of them would want to return anyway, as well the report writers know, so it is a free shot for them and a nice headline.

HBOS had no way to stop this report from happening, but at the other end of the spectrum, Barclays committed a complete mea culpa this week by publicising a report wot it writ itself that outed all of its past errors and why things went wrong.

In my eyes, this was a genius PR move. The media huffed and puffed over the report on the day of its revelation but attention has moved on.

PR Crisis 101: apologise for the error of your ways, announce an investigation and then, hey presto, you can say it is all water under the bridge, everything has been fully investigated, the rogue elements have been identified and removed and none of that silliness will ever happen again.

Barclays, I salute you. As I say, a genius move that should seriously go on to be entered into PR Awards for crisis communications.

Finally, all this talk of award-winning PR campaigns leads me nicely on to Dominos. The media savvy wheel-shaped-food legends have announced another bumper set of results.

They are clearly the market leader and growing every day. Their expansion into Germany is set to double their number of stores and even though they threw out some warnings about a tough retail market going forward I fully expect that was just so they can smash it and have more to shout about when their next results are due.

Dominos and Barclays, we salute you for monumental corporate PR efforts this week. George and HBOS, must try harder.

If you fancy telling me how wrong I have got it, @10Yetis on That There Twitter

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