Archive for December, 2008

Sticking it to Tesco

December 16, 2008

Picture the scene; I’m innocently sitting at my desk, thinking high level strategic thoughts as usual, when something interesting prevents me making the Campbell-like intellectual comms leap I was undoubtedly about to make.

It is twitter. More precisely it is a tweet from @stickitotesco, suggesting something might be up my street. Curious. Interest piqued I check out the profile. It is followed by clues which include the unveiling of an image of an appeal and an apple pie. Everything branded to look like Tesco value.

A few other ‘tweeps’ also interested. We’re promised a 2pm unveil amongst some good banter.  (I was suspicious this was something pie-related and an unkind but not unjustified comment on the impact of the Christmas party season and a few too many hours at my desk).

When it comes ’tis indeed good. A campaign from ActionAid for better pay for workers overseas producing UK supermarket goods. The apple bit uses a neat attention grabbing hook encouraging us to push Tesco to pay 5p a kilo extra to South African apple pickers to lift them out of poverty.

Now I’m not well-enough versed in the intricacies of these issues to make any moral comment beyond that it is always good to spread the wealth to those less fortunate. I’m pragmatic enough to know we don’t get cheap supermarket prices by magic. I also have no axe to grind against Tesco per se (beyond their abysmal online shopping service, which I’ve bemoaned and abandoned before).Either way ActionAid got me discussing a issue I certainly otherwise wouldn’t (remember I was on the verge of re-defining strategic comms thinking before they rudely interrupted).

The point is more a great PR execution, picking an attention-grabbing hook, using some good ol’ fashioned teaser principles, utilising an effective online channel, culminating in an appealing mini-site. My only real suggested improvement would be a longer teaser lead-in process to allow the follower numbers to grow.

Interesting stuff. Check it out.


A seasonal PR letter to Santa

December 14, 2008

Dear PR Santa,

I’ve been really good this year. I’ve worked lots of hours, I’ve got lots of coverage, I’ve socialised with my colleagues (but too much), and my desk has been (sort of) tidy.

So, I thought you might like to know what I’d like for PR Christmas?

Well, it goes without saying I’d like a prosperous 2009 with job for all my friends in the industry. But that isn’t very jolly, so I’ll move quickly onto the others.

So, I’d like to see an end to the snottiness that says mainstream PR practitioners “don’t get” online, and vice versa. it’s dull, and it isn’t true, and it doesn’t encourage either to learn best practice from t’other.

What else? Evaluation people actually want, understand, and is cost-effective. Not measuring for measuring’s sake, not ignoring it because it is too difficult, and not stuff that takes a month to compile. So if you could just drop that new evaluation tool off with me, that’d be great, OK?

If it isn’t too greedy or self-indulgent, I’d also like to fulfil a dream and get some coverage on Countryfile. Especially once it moves to the new Sunday night slot. I can hear your elves sniggerring, but it has a great demographic, and filming would be a riot. Go on…

Oh and Chinos to make a appearance in Sunday Times Style. It’d make my working life easier if someone would vindicate me that they DO look good. And to learn to write like Giles Coren. And to be better at proofing my own work. I’m great at spotting faults in others, why not my own?

I’ll stop now. I realise there’s only so much I can ask for. So, how about it Santa?


A festive PR Consultant.

PR sex stories

December 3, 2008

There must be something in the PR air the last few weeks. The industry has gone sex-mad.

Sunday saw Bradley University, Illnois revealing the UK is “on top” in the casual sex league. (great punning from the S Times)

Monday saw Ocado reporting condom sales up 60%, and Terence Higgins trust with a report claiming sex is at the top of our leiasure time activity list. Interestingly the effectiveness of Ocado’s story in providing ROI is debatable; only a small uplift in search traffic for them, which is an important consideration as an online retailer.

Today sees Durex also claiming sales are up 10%.

Everyone is attributing it to the credit crunch leading to more nights in for couples. Personally I’m putting it down to the fact a) sex sells newspapers, and b) it is a great opportunity for journalists to use perenennial classic phrase “sexpert XXX said…”

Perhaps we’ll start ‘PR sex-watch’ on the blog. Or maybe not. I might be washing my hair instead.

I heard it through the grapevine

December 2, 2008

I had the opportunity to be Gorkana’s guinea pig on Wednesday as they played host to the first ever Gorkana Grapevine event. Gorkana hope that these nights, where PRs and journalists rub shoulders and talk all things newsworthy, will be regular events and plan on holding the next one sometime in January.


Also in attendance were journos from Sky News, the FT and The Times, and PRs from Maitland, Weber Shandwick and Lexis – in all, about 100 people were squeezed into the very ‘snug’ Long Acre bar.


A good night was spoiled however as the pub quiz team I was on was robbed of the star prize as we incorrectly answered this question:


“Which internet phenomenon takes its name from a Hawaiian word?”


Answers on the back of a postcard please.

Guinness is good for you (especially if you are a shareholder)

December 2, 2008

It’s been a while (and even this post is recycled) – more to come soon.


I’ve been saying it for years and finally, people are listening to me. A report out today by Management Today has named Diageo as the most admired company in the land. They do say good things come to those who wait.


At the other end of the spectrum, the second 20 per cent sale can’t come quick enough for M&S as they plummeted from 1st to 29th in the rankings. Could be a difficult Christmas in the Rose household this Chrimbo.