A big fine, but a Whale of a PR success for JP Morgan


By Andy Barr | Head Yeti

September 20, 2013 | 4 min read

The greatest trick that JP Morgan ever played was convincing the world that no one outside of personal finance gives a shit about its fine. How is that for a bastardised version of a fantastic quote?

Andy Barr admires JP Morgan's PR

JP Morgan deserves huge huge credit today, it got the third largest fine ever handed to a financial company and no one outside of the world of finance cares. This will have no impact upon its long term image or reputation because consumers neither understand what a "Whale scandal" is, and quite frankly, don't care.

In the financial world this is a big story, as I said, the third largest fine in history, a fine that comes from two territories (UK and US) and has JP Morgan's press office briefing out PR 101 lines: "accepted responsibility", "learned from mistakes" etc etc. For a PR looking in, it is just dreamy to watch how well this is being managed.

Why does no one in consumerland care? Well, the various regulatory bodies needed to communicate better and have a joint message. Instead we have US regulators with one line, UK regulators with another; a huge, global media opportunity has been missed.

Sticking with the fun world of financial services PR, we move to the Treasury, specifically George Osborne's bunch of merry communicators.

Lloyds sold off its first tranche of government rescue-funding bonds this week, triggering £3.2bn being paid pack to the Treasury. Osborne's PR masterminds decided that, in these tough economic times, £3.2bn seemed too much, so they rehashed the story and instead shouted about the profit the government had made, a more frugal sounding £61m.

The difficulty with having two figures floating around is that it clearly confuses the story. The heavy hitting financial media went with the £3.2bn figure, the consumer brigade stuck with the PR briefing and the far smaller £61m.

Lloyds benefitted from the confusion and quite rightly basked in the overall "aren't we doing well" theme. Kudos!

Finally, I am writing this today from the audience seats of NewsRewired, being held at the uber-glam Microsoft Offices in Victoria. The event is largely attended by journalists and digital hangers-on like myself.

I can't help but chuckle that the front row is stacked with bloggers, all sat with Apple products on their knees - iPads, iPhones, Macbook Pros etc. Not a single Microsoft powered product in sight. Ouch.


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