Archive for December, 2007

Christmas PR quiz time

December 19, 2007

I’ve heard some people are winding down for Christmas. I say ‘heard’, because I’m pretty convinced Christmas is a mythical event on the distant horizon as yet, but apparently others are having a relaxing time.

With this, and season’s sentiments in mind, 77 PR have profuced an end-of-year PR quiz, and you can win yourself some fizz [in case you haven;t indulged enough yet].

Give it a go here.

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All I Want For Christmas Is A P45

December 19, 2007

The party season is in full swing and with it comes the dreaded office party.  Depending on how well you get on with your colleagues, they can present something of a challenge.  Add into the mix a roster of clients and some members of the media and you’re facing a true nightmare before Christmas.  This happened to a good friend of mine a few weeks ago who was put in the tricky position of having to swig a never-ending amount of free booze whilst speaking to a client and a journalist who were stone cold sober.  Once he was nicely pickled, his account manager, who had not had the opportunity to sample the free bar, decided it was a good time to palm off the rather important client to him. The situation got worse when a journalist spotted the client and wondered over to have a chat – off the record of course.

  So, there he was, struggling to keep both eyes focused on the same object, tie loosely hanging from his Tom Jones-like unbuttoned shirt, desperately trying to keep pace with a conversation about PE ratios.  Despite being one of the brighter people I know, he failed, miserably.  Instead, in his infinite wisdom, he changed the conversation to football and who was going to win the league.  Far from scoffing, the journo and the client then launched into a huge debate about which team was better – Arsenal or Manchester United.  I don’t know how the conversation turned out, but an educated guess would lead me to believe they decided upon the mighty Arsenal.

  My friend, now a drooling, rabid, Spurs fan chipped in with his two cents worth and got more than a little agitated with the Gooner (his client) going as far as to call all Arsenal fans the, and I quote, “scum of London.”  I asked him how the rest of the night turned out after that, but he looked at me quite blindly, shaking his head and said he couldn’t remember.  As it happened his client went on holiday the next day and wasn’t heard from in a week.  For the entire week my friend was on ‘squeakybum time’ and lost about half a stone through nervous energy.

  I have since heard that the client returned and sent an email to my friend.  With a shaky mouse he opened it up and followed the hyperlink it contained.  The link took him to Youtube and a video of Arsenal’s goals so far this season.  He went back to the email and looked under the link.  It read: “not bad for a bunch of scumbags.”

  Whilst it all turned out fine in the end I somehow doubt he would recommend doing it again.  His sudden, and very noticeable, weight loss and the apparent addition of five years of age are evidence of that. 

  So, when you’re at you’re Christmas bash this year, if there is even the slightest chance of being cornered by a client or a journalist, just say no to that next glass of champagne – unless of course you want to go on a very dramatic diet and don’t fancy sleeping for a week.

PR and Comms Christmas Drinks

December 12, 2007

So, it’s a Thursday night just before Christmas. You’re a PR in London. What you gonna do?

 PR and Comms Network Christmas drinks.

You know it makes sense.

Hopefully see lots of you at Carbon Bar, near Marble Arch tube, tomorrow [Thursday 13th Dec].

James Gilheany- ‘A life’

December 10, 2007

London, UK 10 December 2007. The PR and Comms Network is pleased to announce its newest administrator, James Gilheany.  James is a renowned communications expert with several years of experience with top-level international clients, making him ‘the go to’ guy for many of the UK media’s top journalists and commentators.

 

When asked about his appointment, James said: “Well, it’s another excellent award for my already glittering career.  It just goes to show that if you work hard enough then you do get rewarded.”

 

James comes from a proud family of PR professionals well known to some of the UK’s top agencies for their sterling work on a variety of challenging accounts.  When asked about the effect his siblings being the industry has had on him and his career, James, in customary humble fashion, answered: “Yes, initially they did help me.  But when you have this much natural talent, it’s hard not to make it to the top.”

 

James brings with him an expert knowledge of the political world, the fast-moving City scene and the turbulent international community.  He has successfully combined this near encyclopaedic knowledge with silky media relation skills that have made him the envy of many an account director over the years.  However, it has not always been such an amazing success story for James.  His current high-flying status is a far cry from his modest upbringing in Feltham, Middlesex.  “It is a sh*t hole” James said, for once losing his near legendary professional veneer, “it’s the sort of place the producers of the Jeremy Kyle show go to look for new victi….sorry, guests.  The only good thing about that place is the sign that tells you you have left.”

 

Escaping the boundaries of Feltham, James found his academic home in Nottingham where he attended university achieving a BA in politics.  It was as a student that James first became interested in working in communications.  “I was working as a bouncer at my Students Union and I thought to myself: if you can get your message across to a drunk, off his head on Stella, then surely you would be able to convey important client messages to a journalist.” James explained whilst pointing to his fully accredited license which allows him to work any door in the UK.

 

In his spare time James lists football, cricket, reading and writing the odd letter of complaint to local government authorities amongst his many and varied interests.  James is also a fully registered member of the Communist party and has asked us to point out he has never made a donation to the Labour party either directly or through a third party.

 

James is currently working for a top 20 PR agency where no one takes anything he says seriously.

A Highly Desi-rable Match

December 10, 2007

London, UK December 2007. Breathe a huge sigh of relief as Desi Argyrides, PR guru at Threepipe Brand Communications has joined the PR and Communications network as an administrator. She is delighted to be offering a female perspective to the network.

She was born in Margate and managed to escape at the tender age of ten. Never one to do things by halves, she moved to Cyprus with her family, where she spent the best part of her formative years. Numerous cures for frizzy hair and three A-levels later, she returned to England for university

An English and French Law degree was all but completely under her belt when she made the decision that talking about the fact that she studied law was actually more interesting than the deed itself. Degree completed, she moved to London for bigger and better things.

The search led her into the world of communications and she now works at Threepipe, a PR agency based in Covent Garden. When asked about her new role within the PR and Communications network, Desi said with a flourish: “It was only to be expected. Nobody could enlighten people about the glamorous world of PR better than I can.”

Desi counts modesty as one of her many qualities. She is looking forward to using her amazing social skills for the benefit of others.

New PR and Comms Network team

December 10, 2007

So, we asked for some fresh meat to join Alain and myself running the PR and Comms network,,,  and after sifting the applications, we hit on a lucky chap and chapess.  basically this means more hands, eyes and brains working together to run more events like our Christmas drinks next week, as well as a few other ideas we have up our sleeve.

We’re always looking for ideas and blog contributiosn though, so do get in touch, even if it’s just to say hi. [I swear my writing is getting more like a pale imitation of soem innocent copy every day!]

after pondering how best to have James Gilheany [Biss Lancaster], and Desi Argyrides [Three Pipe] introduce themselves, the answer became obvious. It had to be a press release…

Tortured young PRs?

December 6, 2007

Gorkana PR reckon the following tactics are being deployed by some journalists. We say you really have to ask yourself the question; just why is this senior journo talking to me as opposed to other members of the team? And surely you’d ring/blackberry someone else if you really had any doubts that the info was urgently required?! The issue here must be quality of junior recruits, not unscrupulous journos…

Lunchtime calls
It is probably not new and it certainly isn’t some emerging trend, but WatchTowerhas now heard reference on more than one occasion to a crafty tactic being employed by some journalists to wring information out of PRs.  Circumventing the usual channels of communication, the hack specifically tracks down a junior member of the team, usually over lunchtime when the boss might well be out, and then promptly puts the thumbscrews on the junior over a client’s affairs, claiming tight deadlines and apocalyptic consequences for the junior’s career if the information doesn’t flow.  Just thought it was worth flagging up.

Christmas is coming and PRs are getting…

December 5, 2007

Well fill in the blanks depending on what you’re up to. Between Christmas news hooks, the  rumble of forward features lists, and the residual hangovers, it can’t have escaped your notice that for PR, it is most definitely Christmas.

And here on the PR and Comms Network blog, we’re looking for your festive, umm, highlights.

We want:

1]Agency Christmas cards. Here’s Fleishmann’s iStudio offering, but lets see more, especially from London agencies. Don’t be shy…hard copy ones sent to me [c/o Fishburn Hedges] also gratefully received!

2] Christmas slip-ups. Had a few too many drinks at the office party? Found yourself awkwardly stood under the misteltoe with a client, colleague or journalist? Whatever it is, let us know [anonymous or otherwise!]

3] Top tips for the Christmas season. We’ll be shringing our own guide to surviving a PR Christmas, but share your top tips.

All materials readily accepted either via Facebook [Alex Pearmain], or email [prandcommsnetwork@gmail.com]

‘Tis the season for charity PR

December 3, 2007

A few Christmas thoughts on Third Sector PR from regular guest contributor Rob Dyson.

Should we all be committed (givers)?

December is upon us, and it’s the time of year charity PR’s cautiously welcome. I say cautiously because we predictably get a flurry of journalists – who ordinarily shun our meticulously-crafted pitches – seeking those warm feel-good stories, miraculous acts of human kindness and tales of ‘triumph over tragedy*’ (*TM every tabloid in the country).

A well-resourced charity PR will pull out those case studies we’d been keeping aside, unleash the Christmas campaigns, and speak sweetly to capture the public’s sense of festive generosity….but charities are for life, not just for Christmas.

And that can be the problem. In January, when the tree’s browned needles cover the floor and most people emerge blinking, pallid, confused and sober into the new year – charity PR’s have got to keep campaigning, lobbying and largely selling ‘the concept’ over ‘the tangible’. Alas, relying on people’s resolutions to ‘do more for charity’ doesn’t fund third-sector projects forever.

But as discussed in my previous offering not-for-profit PR’s best tools are clout, a sense of the current climate and the ability to raise consciousness with a well placed editorial, corporate partnership or celeb endorsement. So enjoy the season-to-be-merry. Relish those media slots where you can exploit topical stories of excess, goodwill and traditional notions of charity to your advantage. After all, if you’re a third sector PR, who needs NY resolutions? Apart from maybe being more forgiving to those Xmas ring-round hacks…