Archive for October, 2008

Word of the Week

October 31, 2008

It’s that time of the week again, folks, so prepare to be educated.

  • nephalism – n. teetotalism.
Alcocat no sharz

Alcocat no sharz

I am worried John McCain will bomb my goats…

October 31, 2008

Two excellent virals caught my attention this week – both motivated by the impending US election.


The first is a remake of the classic “Wassup” Budweiser advert and is a good example of a traditional-style piece of advertising spreading through viral means.



The second might more properly be called a viral – it pretends to be a news report on the US election and can be customised so that it blames you personally for the republican victory. Expensive, but very effective



30 minutes on the Tube

October 29, 2008

I had the unpleasant experience of having to travel on the Tube the other day minus music, as I left my iPod at home.

The results: not good. I thought my music blocked out merely the rattling of the Tube, however it turns out it blocks out a multitude of other sins. Namely – the interference of other people’s music on the tube. I’d never realised how irritating it is!

Therefore I believe some form of music etiquette should be followed at all times:

  1. Have your volume at a reasonable level – i.e. so no one else can hear the not-so-faint strains of some hideous happy hardcore tune blasting out by your left ear. There have been studies done in the past where MP3 manufacturers have had to set limits on the volume at which music can be played – clearly some MP3 players managed to avoid imposing this legislation.
  2. Do not hum, sing, or worst of all, whistle along with the tune.
  3. Don’t drum your fingers in an annoying ‘I want to be the drummer’ style tapping rhythm.

I obviously abide by my own rules at all times – although I have noticed I tend to attempt to do some form of mini-dance moves occasionally when on the train. Ultra embarrassing!

On similarly hilarious theme –  this made me laugh a LOT this morning. I think every seasoned Tube user has seen something similar to this:

BBC suspends Brand and Ross over ‘answerphone-gate’

October 29, 2008

Whoever said today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper did not anticipate the maturation of the UK’s Health and Safety regulations.  They also did not anticipate the power of the media when it comes to whipping up a storm. 

Immediately following the broadcast of Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross obscene phone messages to Fawlty Towers’ Manuel, only two people complained about the content.  Fast forward ten days and by 9.30 this morning, that figure had risen to more than 18,000. And the duo are suspended pending an investigation.

I, probably like the majority of those who complained about the broadcast, have not actually heard the offending piece. But I imagine it to be quite offensive.  The Russell Brand show often is.

So why the furore now?  

Because it has all the ingredients to make a very tasty story indeed.  Russell ‘living the Brand’? Check.  Ageing British TV icon?  Check.  Pics of a saucy young vixen? Check.  BBC wasting licence fee payer’s money?  …you get the picture. And once a story like this makes it onto the news agenda we the public, reporters, PRs and commentators alike all swarm like flies around the news squeezing it for all it’s worth. 

Not that it acts as any kind of salve for Manuel, but looks like his grand daughter (who probably did have relations with that man, by all accounts) will benefit from this – in a Madonna/Magdalen way of course – chiding the offenders for their lewdness at the same time as promoting her career in erotic dance.

God approves of technology, phew!

October 28, 2008

A news report today from Reuters explains that the Vatican has approved the use of technology like DVDs and iPods to spread the Bible in as many words as possible.  An official spokesperson said: “The voice of the Divine Word must resonate over the radio, on Internet channels with virtual distribution (and by) CDs, DVDs and iPods, and on television and cinema screens.

Poking God on Facebook


What’s next?  A God-cast?  (sorry)

Top PR blunders of all time

October 24, 2008

Kerry Katona
Kerry Katona



Watching the good ship Kerry hit a PR iceberg and sink on This Morning earlier this week, made me nostalgic for the greatest PR blunders of the past. Here are some old classics:


Brand/Company: FEMA

Failure level: Mild

Feeling battered after a spate of natural disasters and spending criticism in the US, FEMA thought they would take an easy route and position their employees as journalists in a press conference. The soft questions posed allowed spokesman Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson to comment favourably on FEMA’s work. The press saw straight through it and an even worse backlash followed.


Brand/Company: Hoover

Failure level: Major

In the 90s Hoover ran a promotion where anyone who spent more than £100 on a Hoover product received a free flight to America. The offer was massively popular, as this was before the age of budget carriers. But Hoover did not anticipate the level of demand and tried to hide behind technicalities to avoid giving customers their flights. Legal action from customers followed.

Brand/Company: Dasani

Failure level: Epic

Things weren’t going well for Dasani (Coca-Cola’s still water brand) when it was revealed that their water was simply taken from the Thames mains supply in Sidcup, Kent, echoing a famous plotline from Only Fools and Horses. But the laughter became anger when it was revealed that the water was contaminated with illegally high levels of bromate – a chemical linked to cancer – killing the brand stone dead.

Word of the Week

October 24, 2008
  • Ryot – noun

No, it’s not a misspelling of riot… it actually means “an Indian peasant”. So you could see ryots rioting. There is also the adjective: ryotwar – “pertaining to system of rent- or tax-collecting with direct settlement between goverment and ryot”.

Gnome rest for the wicked!

October 22, 2008

Has anybody noticed the suspiciously high amount of gnome activity lately? Last March, this video surfaced showing a gnome quite creepily crossing a road in Argentina:


In August, this Daily Mail story told how a garden gnome was stolen, taken on a round-the-world trip and returned home complete with photo album. Now, the creepy Argentinean gnome is back!

My PR side thinks this could all be part of an elaborate, if extremely patient, viral marketing campaign.  The creepy gnome videos certainly have gone viral but is an organisation behind them? There were rumours that the gnome could have been a Grunt from the Halo game franchise. Perhaps rivals World of Warcraft are behind it, showing off one of the races in its game? I really hope so – it’s great to see good virals done well.

What does PR look like?

October 22, 2008



October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is nearly over. Since my mother succumbed to it 5 years ago, I kind of take it personally.

Now I do not need to tell anyone how many breasts there are in PR, but I will try. It is estimated that there are now 48,000 people working in PR roles in the UK (Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)) and, if this is the case, about 70% (estimate from me) are women. That’s about 67,200 breasts that need attention.

Jaime, always the activist, has taken awareness a little further by rocking this seasons’ plaid trend with a compassionate twist. What does PR look like today you ask? Capable, cool and can spot a boob from a mile off.

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