Beeb’s Review Show cut back as it moves to BBC4

The Review Show

The BBC’s main cultural review programme, ‘The Review Show’, is being cut back from weekly to monthly and will be shifted to BBC4, which is a bit of a blow to arts PRs, it being one of the few review outlets for cultural events on British TV.

The switch is a result of the BBC’s much documented ‘Delivering Quality First’ cutbacks that were caused by a reduction in the Corporation’s licence fee revenue in real terms. Though the Beeb’s Arts Commissioning Editor says that his department has got off lightly in the cost-saving initiative.

‘The Review Show’ began life as a spin-off to the early 1990s programme ‘The Late Show’, before becoming its own thing, and then being absorbed by the Friday night edition of ‘Newsnight’. It was relaunched as the standalone ‘The Review Show’ in 2010, though still aired after the BBC2 news programme on Friday nights.

Throughout it’s history the programme has followed more or less the same format, with a small panel of critics discussing the week’s big releases from across the arts, usually finding time to bicker about the pros and cons of some of the latest cultural offerings.

In its new incarnation, ‘The Review Show’ will air once a month on BBC4, a one-hour programme scheduled into an earlier Friday evening time-slot in a bid to make it more accessible. The shift to the digital channel comes as BBC4 steps up its arts and culture output, having lost its budget for drama.

BBC4 boss Richard Klein put a positive spin on the changes, quoted by The Guardian thus: “[This] is a fantastic opportunity to reconsider how you might put topical arts out, rather than a slot at 11.20pm on a Friday night which isn’t particularly prominent. I think it’s exciting. It’s good trying to change things and see if we can do it better”.

He added: “When you have blogs and tweets, we have to rethink how we review topical arts; you could argue once a month or once a week, it doesn’t make that much difference. Once a month will make it more of an event”.

CIPR publishes State Of The Profession report


The Chartered Institute Of Public Relations has published its annual ‘State Of The Profession’ report, which takes in the thoughts and insights of 1200 of the professional body’s members.

And the one trend that stands out is confirmation that senior PR professionals are taking on increasingly wide-ranging responsibilities, some outside what would traditionally be considering public relations. This trend has possibly been escalated by attempts to keep costs down at a senior level in difficult economic times – ie expand the top communicator’s job description rather than create new roles.

But on the up side, it is also seen as recognition that in the online era, where a company’s reputation is more important yet more fragile, having a more coordinated approach at the top when it comes to relationship and communications management is ever more important.

And that trend, says the CIPR, means that despite continued economic uncertainty senior PR people have seen average salary increases of nearly 14%.

You can browse the CIPR report in full at this URL.

Tumblr steps up its music activity


Tumblr, one of the social media platforms that has seen considerable growth in the last eighteen months, especially amongst younger social networkers, is stepping up its music activity.

According to a blog post last week, it will launch a new #music tag page for users to follow which will highlight music-related content, including tracks, videos, artwork and photos, being prolifically shared by Tumblr users, with a team of about twenty editors filtering what should be highlighted, so that it has a discovery element rather than just being a ‘most shared’ chart.

For music PRs with a social media remit Tumblr has become an increasingly important part of the mix, especially in the urban and pop genres, with both artists and fans liking the flexibility it offers in terms of look and feel, and the way it combines elements of blogging and sharing platforms.

Tumblr has also launched a new music-specific blog of its own (on which the aforementioned post appeared) that will report on “everything that is going on with music” on the platform, including “product announcements, new bands and blogs to follow, tips for artists and music bloggers, and shout outs to unique posts we find on Tumblr”.

MoD airs live recruitment ads from Afghanistan

TA Live

The Ministry Of Defence has run a series of live TV ads as part of a recruitment campaign for the Territorial Army. Not only were the ad spots aired lived, they featured real TA reservists on the ground in Afghanistan, making them, according to the MoD, the first commercials to ever be filmed live in a war zone.

The point of the ads is to show real TA recruits going about their duties in real time, explaining the role they play alongside full time soldiers, with the strapline “the TA are serving with the Regular Army right now”. Seventeen one-minute ads will air in total as part of the campaign, all on ITV, with ITN Productions working with ad agency JWT London to produce the spots.

Each ad will also be posted to the TA’s YouTube channel, with social media activity accompanying the campaign.

ASDA cleared over Christmas ads


NEWS-BITE | Marketing Comms | Advertising: The Advertising Standards Agency has cleared a pre-Christmas ad campaign run by ASDA which some accused of being sexist, and which garnered no less than 620 complaints to the ad industry regulator.

The promo featured a harassed looking mother going through the motions of preparing for a family Christmas, doing the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, writing the cards and wrapping the presents, concluding with the strapline “Behind every great Christmas there’s mum, and behind every mum there’s ASDA”.

Some felt the ad was sexist, either by suggesting that in the average family much of the work involved in preparing for the festive period is single-handedly undertaken by the mother, or for implying that that’s the way it should be.

But ASDA decided to fight back, arguing that research suggested that, on average, women do do most of the work around Christmas time. According to The Guardian, a spokesman for the retail firm said: “Extensive consumer research and feedback indicated that the majority of customers identified with the ad’s representation of Christmas. Eight out of ten mothers [of 1,896 surveyed] … believed the ad reflected common experience, rather than outdated stereotypes”.

The ASA ruled that the ad was not “condoning or encouraging harmful discriminatory behaviour, or reinforcing negative stereotypes”.

New internal comms awards shortlists published


NEWS-BITE | PR | Internal Comms: The CIPR’s internal comms group is launching a new awards event celebrating the work of those communicators targeting the internal audience, ie good old employees.

Called the #insidestory awards, shortlists for the seven categories set to appear at the inaugural event were announced last week, with the awards themselves due to be dished out at London’s Hospital Club on 28 Feb.

Commenting on the first ever #insidestory awards shortlists, Kevin Ruck, who leads the CIPR internal comms group, said: “Congratulations to the finalists. We have had a wonderful response to our first ever awards. We received an amazing number of entries and they were of a very high quality. Our judges, experienced industry professionals, have spent the past two weeks assessing the entries and today we are very pleased to announce the shortlists”.

He added: “The quality and number of entries show just how much the internal communication profession is growing and moving up the corporate agenda. We are now gearing up for the awards celebration evening, where the winners will be announced. It’s going to be a great evening with some surprising and fun entertainment”.

And the nominations are…

Best Agency: H&H, HarknessKennett, Sequel Group, Scarlett Abbott, The BlueBallroom, Banbury Howard.

Best In-house Team: NSPCC, The Regenda Group, City & Guilds, Essex County Council, Royal Bank Of Scotland, SSP UK.

Best Change Communication: Morrisons Supermarkets Plc, Royal Bank Of Scotland, HarknessKennett, Shell International, onebite
Maersk Line.

Best Employee Engagement Programme: Direct Line Group with Instinctif, Essex County Council, Public Health Wales – Champions, HSBC, Pret A Manger, Northern Ireland Water.

Best Intranet: Coca Cola Enterprises, Marks & Spencer PLC, South Eastern Railway, The Glasgow Housing Association, National Trust, Leeds City College.

Best International Programme: dunnhumby, HSBC, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Emic Communications, AVEVA Solutions Ltd, HSBC.

Best Internal Social Media Programme: Gatwick Airport Limited, University of Birmingham, Coca Cola Enterprises.

Tyson hook-up with energy drink criticised

NEWS-BITE | Marketing Comms | Celebrity Endorsement: The supermarket chains are under pressure to stop stocking a Polish drinks brand called Black Energy, because of the product’s sponsorship partnership with controversial boxer Mike Tyson.

The marketing tie-up has come under criticism because it includes advertising showing Tyson with a number of scantily clad women under the banner “sexenergy”, while at one point the boxer calls himself an “animal”. Tyson, of course, was convicted of rape in 1992.

Commenting on Black Energy’s Tyson campaign, a spokesman for charity Rape Crisis told reporters: “It is deplorable that supermarkets think it is appropriate to revere the rapist Mike Tyson and put him in a position that implies young people should trust his judgments and buy a drink that he promotes. When he was in that position of trust he raped women abusing any trust that society should have in him”.

Meanwhile the founder of Mumsnet, Justine Roberts, told Marketing: “Lots of Mumsnet users are disappointed that the likes of Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s are stocking a product endorsed by convicted rapist Mike Tyson, and would rather that someone who showed little remorse for his behaviour wasn’t given the opportunity to cash in on his notoriety”.

Complaints from British consumers about the controversial ad campaign began last year, but the protests have gained momentum this month. Nevertheless, so far none of the UK supermarket chains seem keen to ban the drink from their stores, with a spokesman for Tesco saying it was a popular product with its Polish customers.

However, it is thought that, under pressure from retailers, Black Energy’s makers have altered packaging for the UK market, playing down the Tyson alliance, though his name is still featured.

Twitter adds video-tweets with Vine


NEWS-BITE | Digital | Social: Twitter has added video functionality for users accessing the micro-blogging platform via an iPhone in the form of Vine, a new app that has been developed by Vine Labs, a New York-based start-up acquired by the social networking firm last October.

Vine, initially only available to users of the Apple smartphone, enables Tweeters to embed a video message into their tweets. Though, sticking to the demand Twitter makes for conciseness, videos can only be six seconds long, and they loop akin to an animated gif.

Launching the new service yesterday, Twitter’s VP of Product Michael Sippey noted of the six-second limit “like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine inspires creativity”.

iPhone-connected users personal, celebrity and corporate will be trying to figure out how they can capitalise on the new function within the Twitter platform. It remains to be seen if Vine – which will presumably expand to other devices in due course – can move beyond short-lived gimmick value.

With photos – both curated and self-produced – becoming key to online sharing in 2012, some reckon mini-video messages could be the next big thing.

Forum involved in Beard-abuse shuts

Mary Beard

NEWS-BITE | Media | Forums: Don’t Start Me Off, a website set up so members of the public could vent anonymously against public figures and institutions, has taken itself offline after it fell under the spotlight as a hub for some of the online hate being dished out towards Cambridge academic Mary Beard after she appeared on a recent edition of the BBC’s ‘Question Time’.

Beard faced a barrage of online abuse after getting into a heated debate over immigration on the BBC show. The professor subsequently wrote about her experiences in a blog for the Times Literary Supplement, pointing out that much of the online abuse she’d faced was simply misogynistic slurs and unnecessarily offensive remarks, rather than informed (other even uninformed) debate over the issues she’d discussed on ‘QT’.

Beard particularly focused on comments made on the Don’t Start Me Off site, arguing that the nature of the blatantly sexist abuse she was now receiving could put other opinionated women off participating in high profile debates, at a time that network’s like the BBC are under pressure to include more female pundits in their current affairs output.

Don’t Start Me Off called itself the “home of the annoyed” and encouraged users to “be funny … original … and inventive and to swear (but not too much)”. But despite its rebellious ambitions, it seems the site’s operators didn’t feel completely comfortable being the host of the sort of abuse aimed at Beard, or at least didn’t appreciate being in the spotlight over such content.

Shutting down the site this week, its founders wrote: “After much thought we have decided to close the site. It’s been great fun but our job is now done. We wish to thank everyone who we’ve had the privilege to know and to banter with. We wish you all the best for the future”.

Speaking on Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour, Beard welcomed the move, saying: “In the end the guys – and I assume they are guys that are running it – did the sensible thing and said look we are not going to go on with this”. Stressing that she had thought long and hard before challenging the comments on Don’t Get Me Started, the prof said that what bothered her about the forum was partly the sexist nature of the abuse and partly the way such comments are delivered in an anonymous forum.

Beard: “If I heard that in a bar I would go up and say excuse me guys can you shut up or go outside. In a way it’s trying to claim that normal manners and courtesy of social interaction for online as well as for face-to-face conversation”.

Volvic recruits aspiring snappers with social campaign

NEWS-BITE | Marketing Comms | Social Campaigns: Water brand Volvic has launched a new social media campaign in the UK that capitalises on the recent trend for social networking to be increasingly visual.

In a campaign conceived by agency We Are Social, the brand is encouraging amateur photographers to upload photos that they think illustrate the word “volcanicity” (which can be interpreted pretty widely we think – aspiring snappers aren’t expected to climb inside a volcano).

Consumers following Volvic on Facebook will be invited to vote for their favourites, with winning photographers getting camera kit and tickets to gigs, festivals and “outdoor adventures”, which may or may not include a trip inside a volcano. And to get things going bloggers have been encouraged to write about the whole thing this month.

Says Deola Laniyan, Account Director at We Are Social, to Marketing Magazine: “[Consumers] become our community managers meaning the content that’s posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement”.

PR sector optimistic in new PRCA survey


NEWS-BITE | PR | Stats: The PR agency sector is feeling optimistic, according to new research by the PRCA, after a healthy fourth quarter in 2012.

In particular, many agencies reported having won more retainer work in the latter part of last year, such work being generally considered more secure than project-based accounts, with over a third of the PR firms surveyed saying that “the proportion of retained work covering fee income is at 81-90%”, a rise of 9% from the previous quarter. Agencies also reported that they’d seen their client budgets rise slightly last year, by about 2%, which is seen by most as good news in the current economic climate.

Commenting on his body’s latest survey of PR agency leaders, PRCA boss Francis Ingham said: “Compared to similar disciplines, such as advertising, public relations is really showing its resilience. Whilst PR professionals tend to be overly-optimistic – and we should not dismiss the general UK economic performance – I share the industry’s confidence in the year ahead”.

For a breakdown of the stats published by PRCA, check the report on the trade body’s website here.

PRCA launches new guidelines on internships

PRCA Interns

NEWS-BITE | PR | Internships: With unpaid internships in the PR sector remaining a hot topic throughout 2012, the PR Consultants Association last week published new guidelines for agencies utilising interns. Amongst the recommendations are that PR companies should treat internships as “contracted, non-voluntary work”, and therefore minimum wage rules should apply.

Launching his organisation’s new internship guidelines, PRCA Director General Francis Ingham told esPResso: “It is now our duty, and our responsibility, to attract the very brightest talent, regardless of background – and to remove the barriers to accessing our industry that unpaid internships are creating”.

The guidelines come as part of the trade body’s intern campaign, launched in 2011. As part of that initiative 79 PR agencies have now signed up to a list of comms firms which commit to pay at least minimum wage to those working as part of an internship programme.

Backing PRCA’s bid to end unpaid internships in the PR industry, Mike Maynard, Managing Director of Napier PR, and a contributor to the new guidelines, added: “Using interns as cheap labour is dumb: you might imagine your clients don’t realise what’s going on, but they probably do, and they’ll question the value”.

Virgin Atlantic to keep name after CEO sparring

Virgin Atlantic

NEWS-BITE | PR | Public Squabbles: Virgin Atlantic will stay branded as such despite the acquisition of a 49% stake in the company by Delta Air Lines. The news follows an interesting war of words this week between British Airways chief Willie Walsh and Virgin boss Richard Branson.

The executive sparring began when Walsh predicted that the Virgin brand would disappear from the airline sector in the next five years if and when Delta acquired the half of Virgin Atlantic owned by Singapore Airlines. Branson hit back by betting Walsh a million pounds that Virgin Atlantic would still be operating with that name in 2017.

In a subsequent interview with the Telegraph, Walsh said he didn’t have a million pounds, and that the two men should instead base their bet around something that would be equally painful to both of them, a “knee in the groin”. Of course public hostilities between the BA and Virgin airlines are nothing new, though even by their standards, this exchange of words was particularly forthright.

Either way, it’s been confirmed that Branson’s new business partners in his airline are happy to keep the business operating under the existing brand name. For the time being at least. Walsh, no doubt, would point out there’s still plenty of time for him to be proven right.

Using the attention his executive squabble with Walsh secured for his blog, Branson said the Virgin/Delta alliance would further shake up the airline industry for the good of the consumer.

Wrote the Virgin chief: “For almost three decades Virgin Atlantic has been punching above its weight. We fought hard to stop BA and American Airlines getting together but they created a complete giant across the Atlantic. Now we are partnering with Delta we can give them a real run for their money, which is I suspect why BA’s Chief Executive has behaved the way he has over the last couple of days”.

PRCA responds to Leveson

Lord Leveson

NEWS-BITE | PR | Regulation: The PR Consultants Association yesterday published its response to last month’s Leveson Report, recommendations from which are currently being considered by the government. The major debate stemming from the report, of course, is whether or not a new independent press regulator should be ultimately controlled by statute.

The issue currently splits the UK Coalition partners, with the Lib Dems backing Leveson’s proposal that while press regulation should be independent from both the newspaper industry and government, it should be ingrained in legislation, while David Cameron’s Tories are generally of the opinion that, providing the new press overseer is sufficiently independent, a change in law should not be required. Though he’s possibly wobbling on that viewpoint, despite support from most (though not all) of Fleet Street.

For its part, the PR industry trade body backs Cameron and most of the newspaper owners. Director General Francis Ingham told esPResso: “We agree that there should be a stronger independent regulatory body. But we do not agree that there is a need for legislative underpinning, nor for OfCom or any other statutory body to recognise the work of the regulator”.

He added: “Statutory underpinning to deal with a handful of recalcitrant journalists in an industry which broadly functions well would be the proverbial sledge hammer to crack a nut. The majority of our press act responsibly already and will continue to do so. A free press holds the PR industry and those that it represents to account, and we believe that the healthiest environment for our industry is one where there is public trust in our communications”.

Inham’s comments followed a survey of 100 PRCA members, in which 26% said they
favoured a non-statutory newspaper ombudsman while 31% supported a revamped Press Complaints Commission with tougher powers.

Virgin Mobile USA removes ad after Branson call

Virgin Mobile

RECOMMENDED LINK | Marketing Comms | Advertising: Virgin Mobile USA this weekend pulled an advert that seemed to make light of rape after Virgin chief Richard Branson publicly criticised the online commercial. Branson’s Virgin Group does not currently own the Virgin-branded mobile network in the States.

The offending ad spot featured a man, who was holding a gift and covering the eyes of a woman. The strapline ran: “The gift of Christmas surprise. Necklace? Or chloroform?” Many hit out at the supposedly comedic implication that the man might be planning an attack against the woman.

As critics voiced their anger on the social networks, Branson posted on his Virgin blog: “Having just seen, for the first time, the Virgin Mobile USA advert which has upset many today, I agree it is ill-judged. Although I don’t own the company, it carries our brand. I will speak to the team there, make my thoughts clear and see what can be done about it. Virgin Mobile USA usually get these things right, although on this occasion it is clear they have gone too far”.

The offending ad was soon taken offline, with Branson subsequently revealing that his contacts at the Virgin Mobile US company had acknowledged the promo image was “a dreadful mistake”. Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the tel co, bought by Sprint Nextel Corporation in 2009, said: “This image was not approved by Virgin Mobile USA. We apologise deeply to anyone who has been offended by this posting. It was removed early this morning”.

Microsoft opens up picture networking site


NEWS-BITE | Digital | Social Media: Microsoft has stepped up its efforts in the social networking space by moving its Socl service into public beta. The IT giant first previewed the digital platform to US students a year ago, and opened a pilot version to more users in early Summer, but this week the service was refreshed and made available to all.

Created by Microsoft’s Fuse Labs, like most of the rapidly growing social networks of the moment, Socl is very much based around photography. Users are encouraged to make photo collages around key terms or topics, pulling in imagery and videos via Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Socl collages then link back to the original sources of any included materials.

Other users can comment on, like or tag collages they browse, and can “riff” off other user’s work too, which basically means creating their own picture collections based around the same theme. The image curation nature of the Microsoft service makes comparisons with Pinterest inevitable, though Socl does encourage users to more tightly constrain the pictures they select around a given theme. Whether that’s a strength or weakness is debateable.

A spokesman for the new service told VentureBeat: “Socl helps people find and share interesting web pages by extending the search metaphor, create rich posts by assembling montages of visual web content and provides rich media sharing and real time sharing of videos. We encourage users to reimagine how everyday communication and learning tools can be improved by researching, learning, and sharing in their everyday lives”.

Of course the question for social media experts in the PR sector, who have been busy getting to grips with Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram this year as picture-led social networking saw particular growth, is this: is Socl something worth investigating from a brand point of view? Big tech companies have generally failed to succeed in the social networking space – the jury is still very much out on Google+ – so it’s far from assured that Socl will last the distance. So, probably only one for the real early adopters for the time being.

Elsewhere in the world of social media, some in the music and entertainment industry have been given beta invites to play with the all new look MySpace, set to relaunch as a music-led social network in 2013.

Tumblr now in top ten sites in US


NEWS-BITE | Digital | Social Media: The company behind social-network-come-blogging-platform Tumblr announced yesterday that its website was now one of the ten biggest in the US according to Quantcast, and that it has a worldwide audience of 170 million people.

Tumblr has been around for a few years now, but has seen its most rapid growth in the last eighteen months, with an increasing number of brands and celebrities also embracing the platform, especially those targeting young consumers.

Although users can ‘create’ on Tumblr, it’s particular good for people wanting to ‘curate’ (“look at this video, this photo’s good, oh LOL at that quote”), and it’s transpiring, perhaps unsurprisingly, that curation-based social networking tools are becoming the most popular, it being much easier to curate than create. If that makes sense.

Tumblr is also very good for visuals, which increasingly dominate in the shared content domain; though on the sharing photos front Tumblr faces competition for up-start Pinterest and increasingly, if slightly differently, Instagram.

Will ‘tablet Christmas’ deliver a digital subs surge?

Metal Hammer

NEWS-BITE | Media | Tablet Magazines: An increasing number of newspaper and magazine publishers are hoping that the silver lining to the big black cloud hanging over their industry at the moment – ie the fact that print circulations and ad sales are slumping, while websites, although seeing record visitor numbers, are not generating any serious ad or subscription revenues – is the potential of the tablet magazine.

Research suggests that consumers unwilling to pay to subscribe to websites might be willing to pay to download digital magazines designed for iPads and their ilk. Such publications have much more in common with print media, but can offer extra functionality.

Assuming there is some truth in that prediction, then this Christmas could be crucial, with tablet devices from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon expected to be at the top of many present lists. And Mark Wood, CEO of Future Publishing, which has already seen good sales of the digital editions of some of its magazines, including T3 and Metal Hammer, has told The Guardian he expects to see a “huge surge” in sales on the back of the “tablet Christmas”.

And while digital magazines are still a small part of Future’s business, tablet editions do now account for 5% of the publisher’s overall circulation figures, compared to 1% a year ago. With print circulations continuing to fall across the newspaper and magazine industries, Wood and all his competitors will be watching closely the impact tablets going mainstream has on digital subscription revenues. And if things go well in this domain, publishers, editors and PRs alike will have to start thinking about the challenges and opportunities posed by this kind of digital publishing if and when it becomes the norm.

Pepsi criticised by ASA over cash prize promotion


NEWS-BITE | Marketing Comms | Promotions: Pepsi has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority over a cash-prize promotion in which one family won multiple times by entering from many different email addresses, but the drinks brand only paid out on the first win for each family member.

In a Pepsi Max promotion fronted by former Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba, Pepsi encouraged customers to enter their email addresses into a special website, with the promise that every hour for a six week period the owner of one submitted address would win £500.

The unnamed family who made the complaint to the ASA entered the promotion 11,000 times over six weeks, on some occasions submitting more than 500 email addresses in an hour. Presumably they owned a domain name on which they could, in theory, have infinite different email addresses, meaning they could enter using different details each time.

The family won on multiple occasions, and received confirmation of that fact, but once the number of entries and subsequent wins was calculated by Pepsi, not all the prize money was handed over.

The promotion did have small print that banned individuals or agencies making use of special software to submit multiple entries and, according to The Guardian, the drinks firm said they were convinced the family in question had made use of such technology given the high quantity of entries in some hours.

But the ASA said that couldn’t be proven and while the complaining family’s actions may not have been within the spirit of the promotion, they were not in breach of any explicit terms and conditions either, and therefore their prize money should not have been withheld, especially after they had been told they had won.

A spokesman for Pepsi said: “We are disappointed with the ASA’s ruling as we feel the terms and conditions of the competition made clear the restriction on the number of entries. We strongly believe the Pepsi Max promotion was administered fairly and honourably, but will review our conditions going forward”.

CIPR to stage new election for 2014 President


NEWS-BITE | PR | Trade Bodies: The Chartered Institute Of PR has said that it will restage the election for its 2014 President, who will spend 2013 in the President Elect position, after a complaint was made about the fact that, ahead of the recent vote, the winning candidate was allowed to put himself forward shortly after the nominations deadline.

Lionel Zetter of APCO Worldwide took 54% of the vote in the recent poll of CIPR members to become the PR trade body’s new President Elect, beating Miti Ampoma. But earlier this week the Institute admitted that it shouldn’t have allowed Zetter to put himself forward for the election after the deadline for nominations in September, and that by doing so his subsequent election should be declared void. A new election will now be held in the new year, though it’s not clear if either Zetter or Ampoma will stand again.

Confirming the decision of the trade body’s ruling Council, CIPR CEO Jane Wilson, who in consultation with the body’s Chairman accepted the late nomination earlier this year, told the Institute’s members this week: “I want to take this opportunity now to apologise to both candidates, who put a tremendous amount of effort into their campaigns and to all members, particularly those who voted in what they believed to be a valid election. In this instance, we did not meet the high standards that our members expect of the CIPR”.

Wilson continued: “This was a tough decision for [the CIPR] Council to make and one which they knew could cause immediate reputational damage to the CIPR and the trust in its processes and procedures. [But] in reaching this decision, I believe that the CIPR Council has put a requirement for transparency, an adherence to our regulations and the long-term trust of our members as their first priority. I am sorry for the reputational damage caused to the CIPR by our original decision. Council’s action is the first step to rebuilding trust in our election process”

A report into the recent election used by the CIPR Council to make its decision this week also included some recommendations on improving the body’s voting processes.

Storify revamps site


NEWS-BITE | Digital | Social Media: Storify, the digital platform that enables users to collate bits of media, content and Tweets on related topics from across the internet and present them in one place, has revamped its own website, seemingly in a bid to make itself an online destination.

Media, brands and individuals have all made use of Storify since its launch last year, some to bring together tweets and posts from many people on one topic, others to show how a Twitter conversation developed, others still to simply collate their own online messages into one place, for example so that every tweet from a conference or event can be subsequently seen on one web page.

Many of the media and brands making use of Storify like the way the service lets them embed the bits n pieces they have collated into one frame on their own websites.

However, according to Mashable, the recent changes suggest that the Storify company would like to encourage more users to access collated stories via its own site, presumably to create traffic that could be monestised through advertising. Certainly the revamped Storify site makes it easier for people who arrive their direct to navigate collated stories stored on the platform, with more sophisticated search and a trending topics bar.

Though the digital start-up told Mashable that it had no plans to stop users embedding stories onto their own sites if they prefer. Of course for ventures like Storify, offering useful social media type functionality for free, the challenge is deciding whether you have a good enough service that you could start charging more prolific users, or whether building a community and going the ad-funded route is a better idea.

Drink brands want to be ‘unplaced’ from film


NEWS-BITE | Marketing Comms | Product Placement: Product placement is big business in Hollywood, and paying to have products featured in prominent TV shows is taking off over here too since a change in the rules governing the practice. But what if you want your product unplaced?

In the new Robert Zemeckis directed movie ‘Flight’, released in North America at the start of the month, Denzil Washington plays an alcoholic pilot who is seen drinking while in charge of a plane and driving a car. During the film the character is seen consuming Budweister and various vodka brands, including Stolichnaya. Unsurprisingly, given the subject matter, none of those brands are especially happy about appearing in the movie.

Rob McCarthy, VP of Budweiser at brewers Anheuser-Busch has told reporters his company was not consulted about the use of its product in the film, adding: “We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving. We have asked the studio to obscure the Budweiser trademark in current digital copies of the movie and on all subsequent adaptations of the film, including DVD, on demand, streaming and additional prints not yet distributed to theaters”.

William Grant & Sons, distributors of Stolichnaya, also said they weren’t consulted about the film, and that: “Considering the subject matter of this film, it is not something in which we would have participated”.

But other than issuing statements distancing themselves from the movie and its lead character (which could draw the public’s attention to their brands in the film, cameos that might have otherwise gone unnoticed), it seems there is little the makers of the featured drink products can do.

Daniel Nazer of Stanford Law School told the Associated Press: “[American trademark laws] don’t exist to give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that might happen to include real-world items. It is the case that often filmmakers get paid by companies to include their products. I think that’s sort of led to a culture where they [brands] expect they’ll have control, [but] that’s not a right the trademark law gives them”.

Neither director Zemeckis nor the movie’s producer Paramount have as yet commented.

PRCA calls for tightening of ‘revolving door’ rules


NEWS-BITE | PR | Public Affairs: The PR Consultants Association has called on the government to tighten up the rules regards former political advisors and civil servants taking jobs in the public affairs sector.

While there is a logic to people who have advised senior politicians moving into PR roles advising companies on their political relations, the PRCA reckons that the rules that govern such career moves need to be more rigorous, to help reassure the public that the lobbying sector is legitimate and above board. The PR trade body has spoken out on the issue following the news that Jonathan Luff, a senior advisor to David Cameron, is joining controversial loans company Wonga to lead its government affairs team.

The PRCA also notes that, under the government’s original plans for a statutory register of lobbyists, Luff would not be listed, because ministers proposed only listing those in agency roles, rather than in-house public affairs professionals. The government is currently reconsidering its plans on the statutory register after criticism from various quarters regards the agency-only proposal.

PRCA boss Francis Ingham told esPResso: “It is ridiculous that a lobbyist that was until recently advising the Prime Minister would not be included on a statutory register. The government needs to take transparency seriously and require all professional lobbyists to register. At the same time we need tighter regulation of former government officials to end the practice of ‘revolving door’ lobbying, which harms an industry that wants to be more transparent”.

Anti Page 3 campaigners turn attention to brands

The Sun

NEWS-BITE | PR | Protests: A group lobbying The Sun to axe its infamous Page 3 slot has turned its attention to some of the newspaper’s biggest advertisers, forcing brands like Tesco and Morrisons into the debate.

The No More Page 3 campaign isn’t campaigning for any change in the law regards the publication of Page 3-style photos, but is trying to persuade The Sun that the daily photo of a topless female model is a “sexist relic of an unhealthy 1970s culture”. Campaigners have got over 51,000 signatures on a petition aimed a The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan.

But with the newspaper so far resisting the pressure, campaigners have now written to Sun advertisers Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda asking them to boycott the tabloid until Page 3 is axed, and last weekend the campaign’s supporters handed out flyers at five supermarkets around the country.

The campaign’s founder Lucy-Anne Holmes told The Guardian: “Supermarkets are selling family values and yet they are advertising with a newspaper that encourages people to see women not as a human but as an object. We are calling for them to stop advertising with the Sun, to send out a really positive message that they value their female customers”.

It’s not the first time a group campaigning against a media organisation has targeted advertisers. It’s a practice that puts a lot of pressure on brands who would rather not get involved in social or political debates only indirectly linked to their businesses.

According to The Guardian, Sainsbury’s and Asda have declined meetings with campaigners to discuss the Page 3 issue, while Tesco and Morrisons are planning on meeting with Holmes and her colleagues, though the former insisted “it is not for us to comment on editorial decisions”.

The supermarkets are not the only brand targeted by the No More Page 3 campaign. Lego was criticised for running a front-page promotion with the tabloid, with Holmes saying: “What do children think if they open a newspaper because of this offer and see pictures of men doing things – running the country, succeeding in sport – and women naked apart from their knickers?”

Tesco revamps YouTube channels


NEWS-BITE | Digital | Social Media: Tesco has relaunched its YouTube channels in a bid to simplify and provide more consistency across its social media activity. The supermarket previously had nine channels on the video-sharing website. Moving forward it will have five channels with consistent branding, one of which will curate content from the other four.

The new YouTube strategy is being handled by digital agency Zone, which Tesco hired to better “understand how to manage our video content with consistency and efficiency so it best serves our customers”, the supermarket’s digital marketing boss Tom Daniel told Marketing.

For big brands with multiple messages to communicate to multiple audiences, it can be tricky to know whether to have single or multiple profiles on the big social media networks. For global brands, there’s also the question of how to separate out regional messaging. But too many separate accounts quickly becomes confusing for consumes, and hard to coordinate for social media managers. Some of the old Tesco YouTube channels had not been refreshed with new content for up to two years.