Signal AI Weekly PR News Roundup 30 August 2019

8.30.19 / 4 min read

Priti Patel in a PR pickle over police tweet

Priti Patel is in hot water over a tweet sharing an article from The Sun and stating that police shouldn’t waste taxpayers’ money on an unnecessary jobs. In an era of Conservative-led cutbacks to police funding, Patel questioned paying a social media officer a salary of £28,000 rather than recruiting more police officers. Not good for PR news.

The comments have been lauded as ‘Dangerous and disingenuous’ by PR professionals. And Patel has arguably displayed a lack of understanding about the role or PR and comms in public facing services, such as police forces. A public service that actively uses social media to liaise with the public and build awareness.

The PRCA have released an official comment about the debacle. Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General at PRCA stated that “Whether it’s in providing information on criminal activity or offering updates during a crisis […] Social media opens a much-needed and often-used channel between the police and the public, a channel that many would suffer from if removed.”

Source: ‘Dangerous and disingenuous’ – PR pros hit back at Priti Patel over police salary tweet, PRWeek (28 August 2019).

Tim Bell: PR guru, advertising executive, and Thatcher spin doctor has died

The talk of the PR news, legendary advertising and PR guru, Tim Bell, has died at the age of 77 after battling a “prolonged illness.” Known to the public primarily as the instrumental spin doctor for Conservative leader and Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, Bell actively influenced politics in the UK.

Working on three successful general election campaigns for Thatcher, Bell was infamous for his “Labour isn’t working” campaign. In addition, his impact on the PR industry as a whole is celebrated, including the co-founding of Bell Pottinger. However, posthumous accounts of his career by those he worked with in the industry are at odds. Some claiming that he wasn’t as bad to work with as reported, and others decrying him as the ‘founding father of fake news’.

Source: Tim Bell, Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor, dies at 77, The Guardian (26 August 2019).

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Manchester Pride PR under fire over interactions with gay photographer

Manchester Pride PR is under fire after allegations made by a gay photographer documenting the celebration. The photographer alleges that he was told to stop photographing an ‘anti-trans’ protest that had infiltrated the front of the parade. He was reportedly told that by photographing the group that,”You’re not on our side.”

This allegation comes in a year marred by negative PR news for Pride. From a lack of access to disability seating at Kylie Minogue’s headline act at Brighton Pride Festival, to complaints that the parade is becoming too commercialised.

Source: Gay photographer says Pride PR told him ‘you’re not on our side’ over anti-trans protest pics, Press Gazette (29 August 2019).

Grand Prix for PR category added to Epica Awards

A Grand Prix prize for PR has been revealed by the Epica Awards and will be awarded to the winners of the PR category or any other campaign with proven high levels of earned media.

Founded in 1987, the 2019 Epica Awards ceremony will be taking place on 21 November 2019.

Source: Epica Awards adds Grand Prix for PR category, Biz Community (27 August 2019).

Image of Innocent juice bottles

Innocent planning APAC expansion via Japan

The Japanese market is notoriously difficult for foreign businesses to infiltrate. Despite this, health drink company Innocent has taken up the challenge. They have announced their planned expansion into APAC, first stop the Japanese market.

The plan is to expand into China once the business has started gaining traction in Japan. Albeit an interesting tactical move, Innocent is showing confidence in their ability to break the market. And there are early signs that their decision may well be the right one, as awareness of the harm of sugary drinks increases and a cultural interest in ‘healthier’ drinks develops in Japan.

Keep your eyes (and oranges) peeled for the Coca-Cola owned businesses’ heroic success or sheepish sinking.

Source: Challenges Await As Innocent Brings Sustainability Case To Asia With Japan Launch, The Holmes Report (28 August 2019).

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