Hero image of David and Miguel for The Family (AAA) article
11th October 2019
Signal Editors

Signal AI Weekly PR News Roundup 11 October 2019

Here we take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, in the PR news this week:

How we raised Series A: An interview with David Benigson

The media, 24-hour news cycle, social networks, your Nan sharing memes on Facebook, Slack, work emails on your three phones. Information overload is very real and communication today moves faster than anybody can keep up with.

It’s overwhelming for the average person on the street, but what about those that stake their success on understanding this data. Whether you’re a business leader who needs to make informed decisions, a PR and Comms professional with the reputation of a whole organisation on your shoulders, or an entrepreneur avoiding a PR scandal, cutting through the cyber noise and fake news is paramount.

Well, we’ve got a platform for that. Signal AI steps in with the necessary tools you need to monitor media around the world to get insights for what matters to you. But we’re not here to sell Signal, you’re already here aren’t you? However, our CEO and co-founder, David Benigson, has provided The Family (AAA) an inside look at how we raised our Series A funding round in December 2016.

Read for an inside look into how we raised a £5.8m Series A back in 2016 as an AI-powered business intelligence and media monitoring company. With incredible investors including MMC Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Frontline Ventures and LocalGlobe.

Source: How They Raised Series A: Signal AI, medium.com/the-family-aaa (9 October 2019).

CTA Download for PR & Media Intelligence Glossary

Is murder simply a PR scandal?

When is it appropriate to engage a PR firm? And is murder simply a PR scandal? These are but a few of the questions that have been raised in the news recently.

Unless you’ve been actively avoiding the news, you will have heard about the terrible murder of a schoolboy by a friend. The fatal knife attack resulted in a conviction for perverting the course of justice and possession of the murder weapon.

In a direct reaction to the conviction, the parents of the convicted former Cheadle Hulme School pupil have appointed PR agency MC2 Communications. This has led to newspaper interviews in reputable publications, such as The Sunday Times. But is this right, moral, or fair to the family of the deceased boy?

They certainly don’t think so and it does raise questions around when it is appropriate to engage PR firms. Whether you’re in the midst of a PR scandal or not. Many organisations, celebrities, and public figures will be aware of what it takes to withstand a PR scandal. But this is a whole different kettle of fish and the water is incredibly murky.

We’re certainly not ones to decide whether participation is a murder trial constitutes a PR crisis. But it does warrant a questioning of the ethics of PR and the part we all play in the industry.

Source: Grieving mum of private schoolboy Yousef Makki blast ‘shameless’ parents of teen who knifed him in the heart for their ‘PR offensive’, The Sun (7 October 2019).

Popsugar nabbed by Group Nine to spearhead the age of the ‘next-gen’ media model

Group Nine Media have announced that they have acquired PopSugar, a digital lifestyle brand with an audience of millennial women. This deal, an all-stock transaction, comes just weeks after Group Nine announced raising $50 million in new funding from its lead investors.

Founded in 2006 by husband-and-wife Brian and Lisa Sugar, PopSugar started as a lifestyle-blog targeted towards women from age 18-36. It now includes a shopping platform, cosmetics lines, and a festival business. Brian and Lisa Sugar will join Group Nine’s executive team.

Image of a Gen Z

PopSugar’s sizeable female following will bring a new audience to Group Nine’s portfolio of brands. Group Nine’s CEO, Ben Lerer, described this demographic as “important” to the group.

The group already owns viral news video site NowThis, the animal site The Dodo, the food-drink-and-lifestyle site Thrillist, and the science-technology-and-culture site Seeker. It now claims to reach over half of the whole US population, aggregating over 200 million followers across social media platforms.

This acquisition seems very timely and an effort to snap-up young, female audiences. Especially in the content of other important acquisitions, as it took place less than a week after Vice Media bought Refinery29,  another women’s media brand.

Source: Group Nine to buy female title Popsugar to build ‘next-gen’ media model, The Drum (7 October 2019).

Historic mental health campaign given royal seal of approval

The first government-led national mental health campaign – ‘Every Mind Matters’ – has been launched by Public Health England (PHE) in partnership with the NHS.

The campaign aims to prevent people from developing long-term mental-health problems. And they hope to achieve this by teaching one million public members how to take better care of themselves and improve their mental wellbeing.

A personalised action plan is developed after answering five simple questions. 

Agencies such as M&C Saatchi, Freuds and APS have backed the initiative in the run-up to World Mental Day – 10 October. The campaign has received the royal seal of approval, with the voiceover of the short film having been provided by The Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Furthermore, the campaign will feature celebrities that have suffered from mental health problems, including Gillian Anderson, Professor Green and Glenn Close to name a few. ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Channel 5 will broadcast the films.

The campaign has had an impressive start with over 4,500 social posts on its first day with an approximate reach of 8.8m. The result of this overwhelming traction? The website crashed due to the high volume of demand. 

Not to worry though, the campaign will run for six months until the end of March next year.

Source: Royal seal of approval for historic mental health campaign, PR Week (9 October 2019).

Urban Fresh Foods appoint Cirkle to supercharge PR for Bear and Urban Fruit brands

Have you waited in a supermarket line to pay at any point during the last ten years? Or do you have children 15 years old or younger? Well, you’ve almost definitely heard of or seen Urban Fresh Foods – via its Bear Nibbles and Urban Fruit brands.

Founded ten years ago, the brand was created to tackle the unhealthy and sugar-high children’s snack sector. Now Urban Fresh Foods has revolutionised snacking and elegantly survived a £70m acquisition in 2015 by Lotus Bakeries, they want to up the ante.

As a result of this reinvigorated interest in the brand’s communications, Urban Fresh Foods have appointed Cirkle to support on an integrated comms brief. Focusing on Bear and Urban Fruit, the agency’s goal is to raise their profiles and drive customer engagement in the competitive healthy snack sector. Primarily by targeting families and kids. (And those picking up an alternative to a chocolate bar in the queue at Sainsbury’s.)

The agency specialises in trade, FMCG, and consumer communication, digital, and experiential marketing. With an impressive portfolio, including FMCG giants Bird’s Eye, Britvic, Goodfellas, PepsiCo, Aunt Bessie’s, and Morrisons.

Urban Fresh Foods marketing director Jo Agnew applauded Cirkle for their: “long and proven track record for driving sales and encouraging brand advocacy.” Something that will, no doubt, snack attack the snack industry.

Source: Cirkle Adds Fruit Snacks Company To Food Portfolio, Holmes Report (8 October 2019).

Tune in next week for another Signal AI news roundup of the top PR news of the week. But for now, you can find out more about us here.