My 5 favourite Vine posts and why it’s a MUST to check out the app

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

I’ve usually been a relatively slow adapter to social networks. I thought there was no need for Twitter, you can post a status on Facebook. I became hooked. I thought there’s no need for Instagram, you can post pictures on Twitter. I became hooked. Now we have the video version of a social network with Vine.

Why is Vine my favourite of the lot at the moment? Basically because it gives anyone with a smartphone and Vine app the chance to become a director, producer and editor of video all in the space of minutes. It’s a social network that isn’t as saturated with content as the other sites because it requires effort, timing and most of all confidence to produce these videos, something that a lot of the American folk I follow on Vine have plenty of, although the uptake hasn’t been quite as rapid over here in the UK.

Looking over the facts presented on an infographic at the Media Bistro website you can see it has a relatively modest number of users at 13 million, ten times less than the 130 million users on Instagram and exponentially less than the billion or so users on Facebook. Of the 30 or so people who I’m following on Vine at the moment, 20 of them are American, and they seem to be leading the way in creating entertaining content.

The app allows you to capture video simply by pressing the screen of the phone and to cut to a different angle/view/scene by removing your thumb and pressing it again when you have the new view you want. This simple yet incredibly effective way of editing video as you go along gives opportunity for so much fun with stop-motion tricks, illusions and generally making cool, concise videos. The videos are very similar to an animated gif that plays on a continual loop, and can obviously become annoying, nay incredibly irritating, if a video repeats itself too many times, like this video I created last month.

Like Twitter and Instagram you can follow celebrities as well to see what those crazy cats are getting up to, although the number of athletes, musicians, actors etc. who have taken to the network is less than the two previously mentioned, there are a few who seem just as amazed by the short videos with the sharp cuts as I am. They are mainly younger folk but people like Harry Styles, Cara Delevigne, Wiz Khalifa and Disclosure are all accounts worth having a look at with some interesting 6-second clips. Despite the massive potential of Vine, it seems the monopoly of Facebook, through sister site Instagram, have their finger on the pulse and have been quick to update their app to include video capabilities as well. I’m stubbornly refusing to even use this video feature on Instagram, such is my affinity for Vine, and to show you what makes Vine so great below are my favourite five Vine uploads (and by the way, the sound is always set to mute when a Vine link appears, so un-click that to hear some hilarious videos).

5) Ian Padgham’s panoramic tour of the Civic Center in San Francisco

4) A post from Harry Styles with the epic title ‘Platform Niall and wee quarters‘.

3) A goofy tribute to the Lion King.

2) Hot Sauce Narnia

1) Perhaps my favourite person to follow on Vine, a guy from New Jersey named Dan DiLiberti who has a hilarious bunch of songs and sketches on his account. There are too many good videos on his account to choose from so I just went for the latest one. I love the way he can set scenes and tell stories in just 6-seconds, here is his most recent upload.

And so my mission to get more of my friends on Vine continues. Expect to see me in pubs across the country interrupting flowing conversations to show people the latest Vine videos.

Saul

Advertisements

Through the eyes of an intern: II

Tags

, , , , , , ,

As Adam mentioned in our previous post; the pressures of coursework, various internships and a looming dissertation deadline have resulted in a drop of frequency in our blog efforts.

In an attempt to get back into this blog I’m gonna brush off the rust and tell you about the internships that have kept me so busy over the past few months. Mindful of the fact that I’m basically ripping off Adam’s idea from his previous post I thought I’d text him to make sure it was okay to do a similar theme for this post.

His reply was a cheerful: “You can always position it as a sequel of sorts. Sequels are usually vastly inferior to the original as well, so it works on two levels.”

Unperturbed by the lack of faith my trusty blogging buddy has in me, I’m going to tell you about the two internships that have occupied my time over the last six months anyway.

I’ve spent the best part of 2013 interning with the organic denim company Monkee Genes. Although fashion isn’t an area I would have considered getting in to before I started the course, the ethics of the company and the independent nature of the place all give me the feel that this is the kind of brand I would love to work for one day. My main responsibility with Monkee Genes has been overseeing the social networks. This has sadly led to afternoons in the office where I’ve found my head buried in a course textbook, only for my boss to look over my shoulder and yell at me for not being on Facebook.

Alongside the social media and PR work I’ve been doing with Monkee Genes, I’ve also been interning with a marketing company called TSMGI (that stands for The Sport Marketing Group Inc. for those who want to know). After struggling through the phone and in-person-interview, desperately trying to make sure I didn’t refer to the company as TMSGI or TGMSI, I was delighted to find out I got the position. TSMGIs main client is Aon, and the company is involved with the Aon-Manchester United sponsorship deal. During the course of the internship I was able to put together a little video of my experience along the way which I’ve embedded below.

In terms of companies I don’t think I could have worked at two more differing places. On one hand I experienced the official corporate world of sponsorship deals and on the other I was working with an independent organic clothing company. It was a great experience being able spend time on placement with both companies, and I feel I’m far more prepared to step out into the working world than I was at the start of the year.

I’m now coming to an end with both internships and all the coursework is complete, leaving me free to focus solely on my dissertation. So expect daily blog updates as a desperate displacement activity to further delay assembling the inevitable 15,000 word thesis.

Until next time!

Saul

Music, Fashion & Arts PR Through the Eyes of an Intern

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

As you may have noticed, things have been kind of quiet for us on the blogging front recently, with our weekly documentation of the weird and wonderful world of Public Relations apparently becoming the first casualty in the war on our 15,000-word dissertations. Not only that, we’ve also been juggling various internships, thankfully with (for the most part) great success. Conveniently enough, internships will be the topic of today’s long-awaited post. Contain your excitement, please. I thought it might be useful and/or entertaining for PR enthusiasts, novice and expert alike, to read about some of the stuff that I’ve been up to and hopefully get an idea of what it’s like to live a day in the life of a young, eager and increasingly adept PR intern.

 

My main internship over the last couple of months has been with a company called Fashion Rider (www.fashionrider.com). They’re a new but rapidly growing initiative based in Manchester, working with professionals across the creative sector. The roster includes designers, stylists, photographer and musicians, with a foray into modelling territory being the next imminent step. I really hit the ground running with these guys, assembling and distributing a full press pack on the organisation within my first month. Currently my days are spent making phonecalls and sending e-mails, capitalising on the interest generated by the pack and following up on any leads that we can use to boost the Fashion Rider profile. I’ve also written some copy for their website and taken over their monthly newsletter, which is a blast as it lets me hone my writing skills and flex my creative muscle.

The good folk at Fashion Rider gave me my first and biggest break so far. Thanks Guys!

The good folk at Fashion Rider gave me my first and biggest break so far. Thanks Guys!

(Image credit: facebook.com/FashionRideruk)

It’s through Fashion Rider that I came into contact with Sven Eselgroth (www.sveneselgroth.com), a photographer who needed PR-based assistance for an upcoming “project.” As it turns out, that project is pretty brilliant, taking the form of a Harley Davidson-led trek across Scandinavia in search of the region’s most dynamic fashion designers and brands. Sven is currently in the middle of the trip, and my role so far has been to generate press releases (writing skills. awesome) and then undertake the mind-numbing yet unfortunately completely necessary task of trawling through a massive database of journalist contacts and sending a personalised e-mail containing said press release out to each one individually (not so awesome). Happily though, a lot of people seem to have recognised the amazingness of this concept and so the response has often been super enthusiastic. Several publications are keen to feature the trip in some way, so hopefully I’ll be able to generate some content for them that can be added to my ever-expanding portfolio. Fashion Rider have had me writing weekly blog entries on the jaunt too. Cross-promotion at its finest.

Sven and his beloved Harley

Sven and his beloved Harley

(Image credit: sveneselgroth.tumblr.com)

 

Switching gears a little bit, I’ve also been lucky enough to land a couple of music-centric positions , with Manchester-based record label Longevity Records and Edge Recording Studio in Cheshire both taking me on in a PR capacity. Longevity is an up-and-coming DIY label, while Edge is a little more established and a little less rough around the…ahem…’edges.’ The nature of the work has been pretty similar to the stuff I’ve mentioned previously (blogs, newsletters and e-mails GALORE), but it’s been wonderful to get some bespoke experience in the music industry since that’s where my true passion lies.

Edge Recording Studio. Possibly the most picturesque studio ever

Edge Recording Studio. Possibly the most picturesque studio ever

(Image credit: facebook.com/EdgeRecordingStudio)

 

As a final note, I’m also going to be involved with the PR for this year’s Manchester Pride festival which is a bit exciting! I don’t know much about the specifics yet but it’ll be great to have experience with such a huge and well-recognised institution to put on the ol’ CV after all’s said and done. I’ll keep you posted!

 

All in all it’s been a fantastic couple of months. The cool thing about generating newsletters, blogs and all the other copy is that you actually get to see your work going towards something in the real world. It only seems like a couple of months ago that I was amateurishly piecing together my first theoretical attempt at a press release, and now I’m sending real ones out to the media AND getting positive feedback and coverage from them. Incredible feeling. But the best part has undoubtedly been gradually discovering that, the more experienced I become in the PR industry, the more confident I am that it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be. Just as well really considering I’ve shelled out four and a half grand plus to get here…

 

Adam

George Dearsley, Media Training & How to Give a Great Interview

Tags

,

A couple of weeks ago (March 14th), media training expert George Dearsley came to give a guest lecture to our course. We were briefed in the weeks leading up to the lecture that we would need two volunteers from the class to sit in front of the camera and be interviewed; George would be asking about our hobbies or passions. There was a mix of media experience in the room, with a few of us having had some form of training or another. We had had another talk from George earlier in the year and it was interesting to hear about some of the people who he had trained. A handful of the group’s ears pricked up when we heard he did a media training day with FIFA as there are about three of us who are eager to get involved with sports PR.

As he began his second lecture at MMU he asked for the two volunteers to introduce themselves to him. He was met with silence as us wide-eyed students looked at each other, each of us hoping we wouldn’t be the ones who ended up on camera being professionally analysed. Eventually, out of sheer desperation and in the interest of self-preservation, we (like all great friends should) started to throw each other under the proverbial bus. “Oh Saul said he would love to do it!” said a few of the girls on the course. “I heard Becks had been preparing for this for weeks!” Saul retorted. Sadly for the both of them, Karma came round to bite them in the arse and they were both called upon to be interviewed.

Saul was up first, and it quickly became apparent that George’s interview style was considerably more Jeremy Paxman than it was Jonathan Ross. George had a very professional manner and the hard-hitting, almost confrontational nature of his questioning caught most of us off guard at first. However, it was soon clear that this was all intentional, in an effort to ensure that the wisdom he would subsequently bestow upon us would resonate all the more strongly.

The class was surely keen to watch Saul squirm during his interview, but to the disappointment of everyone but him, the man in question handled himself pretty well by all accounts. After it was over, we watched it back as a class. The objective was to pick it apart. What was good? What was bad? How could it be improved? Following that, George gave us some of the hints and tips on being interviewed that he’s gleaned from his years of experience.

Some of what he said seemed, after he pointed it out at least, to be largely derived from good ol’ common sense. Concepts such as watching your posture, maintaining eye contact and keeping a smile on your face aren’t exactly revolutionary. So it’s strange that none of us really picked up on these things until they were brought to our attention.

George also emphasised the importance of preparation, suggesting an interviewee should as ask many question as necessary regarding  the nature of the interview (e.g. length? print or broadcast?) beforehand, and referencing Steve Jobs’ 10:1 approach to public speaking (10 minutes of prep for every one minute of speaking). He further drove home the importance of a strong initial statement, or, as he called it, an ‘opening gambit.’ This should be a line which effectively engages the audience, and may even take the form of the conclusion that you want them to reach. From there, you should focus on getting across your key messages in 3 to 4 points. Provide statistics and examples wherever possible to back up what you’re saying, and try to use language that adheres to The Three Ps. The first of these is Positivity; avoid negative words and phrases at all costs, and don’t be lured into the trap of repeating any that the interviewer might have used. The second is People – everyone loves a good human interest angle after all. The third and final P is Pictures, which refers to dropping a couple of metaphors and/or similes into your story for the audience’s benefit

Another really useful pointer that George gave us, is that a camera doesn’t always pick up on natural enthusiasm and charisma. As we all watched Saul’s interview back, this definitely rang true. The guy on the screen, sat in an almost catatonic state rigidly answering questions, was a far cry from the lively, passionate individual that the rest of us had just seen interviewed in person. George’s solution? To be 10% more vibrant than you think you need to be, in order to compensate for the camera sucking the life out of you.

And so, armed with all of this new knowledge and insight, Becks set out to put it to good use in her interview. Key messages had been considered, language carefully selected and an opening gambit meticulously prepared. She was ready for anything…except George throwing a curveball by opening with a question that was hardly an ideal set-up for her to deliver that killer leading line. Understandably flustered, she set about simply answering the question she was asked. Opening gambit be damned! This prompted an exasperated cy of “noooo, cut!” from George. And here, folks, began the next major lesson of the day: there’s always a way to get your key message across in an answer, even if the question doesn’t lend itself perfectly to doing so.

The thing is, interviewers will occasionally ask unwanted questions. It’s never advisable to avoid such questions completely, but you don’t have to tackle them head on, either.  Mr. Dearsley suggested three scenarios. Firstly, deliberate whether you can answer the question with a flat-out “no” before moving on to the point you actually want to make. Alternatively, maybe you can answer with a “yes, but…” and segue way into your message? If all else fails, rebut the question using something like “with respect, that’s irrelevant” and move on to your topic of choice. A great interviewee needs to become adept at using the questions as a springboard of sorts. With that in mind, George informed us of the ABC Method (Acknowledge Bridge Comment). The trick is to respond to a question, but then smoothly transition the into talking about one of your key messages. George stated that, while this is indeed a difficult ability to master, it’s wholly achievable with enough effort and practice.

With that, Becks was ready for her second interview attempt. This time, she handled George’s awkward question like a pro, seamlessly diverting attention to the topic she wanted to discuss, and nailing that opening gambit in the process.

All in all, it was a really useful enlightening session that allowed us to have a laugh while simultaneously gaining valuable media training expertise. Thanks George!

Adam & Saul

(Follow George on Twitter. Or pay a visit to his website and its associated blog)

Why Interflora Aren’t Exactly in Full Bloom

Tags

, , , , , , ,

It’s been exactly one week since Mother’s Day, a day when we’re expected to come up with a tangible gesture that shows our mums just how much we appreciate them, as opposed to filing such sentiments under the ‘goes without saying’ category like usual. Seeing this as an opportunity to develop the skills of innovation and creativity that are so vital for a PR practitioner, I opted for a pretty radical and unconventional choice…a bunch of flowers.

To be fair, my mum absolutely loves getting a nice bouquet of posies no matter what the occasion, so I feel I can be forgiven for taking what was arguably the safest, most predictable route possible. Moreover, I definitely was not the only one to do so, which leads me seamlessly onto the topic at hand. The other day I happened to stumble across a Tweet that one of my friends had sent to Interflora. I’ve never been done for plagiarism and I don’t intend to start now so I’m paraphrasing here, but she basically expressed her disappointment at the fact that the flowers she ordered looked drastically different in person from what was advertised on the Interflora website. Pictorial evidence (shown below) was also provided. Out of curiosity, I clicked through to Interflora’s Twitter page (@InterfloraUK), and was greeted with a sea of ‘sincerely’ apologetic Tweets from the organisation, addressed to an apparently never-ending list of disgruntled customers.

BFLnnP3CIAENqaX
(Image credit: Twitter)

Now, in the interest of fairness, it should be noted that Interflora did well in acknowledging and addressing the issue. Twitter, when used correctly, is a great way to develop and maintain two-way communication between an organisation and its publics. Pretty much every other social media platform is equally effective here, too. Encouraging this kind of open dialogue is a key aspect of reputation management, and Interflora could well have been left even worse off had they simply ignored the complaints and let the ill will fester.

That being said, as a potential customer, seeing nothing put apologies to current customers for what are essentially Interflora’s shortcomings in providing the service they advertise is a massive turn-off. Sure, utilising social media to address customers directly and attempt to improve consumer relations is a positive thing. But when it’s the only thing you have time to do on there, it suggests that there’s a much more integral problem relating to your product/service that needs to be resolved before you can start to build (or re-build) your reputation.

Dubious strapline, anyone?

Dubious strapline, anyone?

(Image credit: http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/)

That’s the Catch 22 that social media represents for an organisation, I guess. On the one hand, providing you manage to keep your customers/clients happy, it allows them to publically gush about how wonderful you are, how pleased they are with whatever they’ve gotten out of the deal, and how much they’re looking forward to doing business with you again. On the other, the instantaneous and public nature of Tweets and Facebook posts can lead to disaster if customer dissatisfaction ever becomes a recurring issue. Just ask the poor folks at Interflora.

Adam

Chevrolet, Product Placements and Questionable News Sources

Tags

, , , ,

Now maybe it’s the cynic in me, or perhaps it’s because I’m still in the formative years of my PR education, but I have a sneaky feeling the Chevrolet marketing/PR team might be up to some publicity seeking tactics at the moment. Today was the second time in the past few months that I’ve read a story that indirectly involved Chevrolet, putting quite a positive spin on the company.

I stumbled across the news piece on page 15 of the Sun, whilst on the train to Chesterfield this evening. Now before you start assassinating my character, I was only reading the Sun because I happened to find a copy on my seat as I boarded the train. And since our lecturers and guest speakers have been drilling into us that we need to take in a variety of news sources, I decided to pick it up and take a flick through. So after swiftly breezing past the 2-page spread about who Ashley Cole had been cheating on Cheryl with, and maybe not so swiftly breezing past a piece about Kelly Brook (assassinate away), I arrived on a story about Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson entitled ‘Sir Alex’s fury after his car is panged’.

The piece basically said Ferguson had scraped his car, and as a result was rather angry.

Image

But along the way in telling this very mundane story, the journalist was able to specifically mention; Ferguson had damaged the bodywork on his Chevrolet 4×4, Manchester United had signed a sponsorship deal with Chevrolet, and Ferguson had “banned his young stars from owning flashy Chevrolet sports cars”.

Chevrolet, Chevrolet, Chevrolet. Oh, and did I mention Chevrolet?

I had read a similar story on the BBC website about how Paul Scholes’ luxury Chevrolet had been stolen while leaving the keys in the ignition of his car one frosty morning as he was heating it up. Both stories talked about United’s recently signed sponsorship deal with the American automotive company. Chevrolet is a unique car company because their prices range from the affordable to the lavish. By talking of these high status sports stars either owning, or the younger players being banned from having Chevrolets, it does a few things for the brand. Firstly, it gets the brand of Chevrolet in the consciousness of the British public. And secondly, it creates a prestige about Chevrolet and makes their cars more desirable, even though it is a brand that is actually fairly accessible for people who can afford a car.

Chevrolet is a massive company in the US, and after surviving the recession they are clearly looking to expand across Europe, and the rest of the world after paying Manchester United £357 million to have their logo emblazoned on the red shirts. I could be way off the mark with my assumptions, but how these stories filter through to journalists seems a little odd to me. It will be interesting to see whether there are any more product placement-style stories involving Manchester United in the coming months.

Saul

PRCA Careers Day 2013

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Last week (Monday February 11th to be precise), Manchester Metropolitan University played host to the annual PRCA careers day, where local PR practitioners gave talks and offered their insights into the mile-a-minute world of Public Relations. As an MMU student, I was eligible for a free place at the event, and it was being held literally 5 minutes from my front door – it would’ve been rude not to attend really, wouldn’t it?

At this point, I’m pretty much an old pro when it comes to these career days, and I’d hazard a guess that anyone taking the time to read this will also have some experience in the area. Nevertheless, in the interest of practicing what we preach and upholding our “written by students, for students” ethos, I thought I’d provide a brief overview of how the day went.

Sandy Lindsay, Group Managing Director at Tangerine PR, chaired the event

Sandy Lindsay, Group Managing Director at Tangerine PR, chaired the event

(Image credit: tangerine-digital-pr.blogspot.co.uk)

The event was chaired by Sandy Lindsay, group managing director of Tangerine PR, and included speakers such as Brian Beech (managing director for Manchester and Edinburgh, Havas PR).  The mix of in-hose versus agency backgrounds was skewed heavily towards the latter, but that’s the side of PR I’m most interested in anyway. Convenient. There was a big focus on the qualities the a good PR practitioner should possess, with phrases like communication skills, time management and relationship building being thrown around so often that I started to wonder if there was some sort of quota that needed filling. Still, it was really great to have people have carved out successful careers for themselves in this notoriously competitive industry pass on their wisdom.

The one thing that all the speakers seemed to unanimously want to get across is how important practical experience is when it comes to eventually getting a full time job (more detail on that in later blog posts so stay tuned, folks!). Also high on the list of topics was just how varied a ‘typical’ day working in an agency is. It’s here where the aforementioned abilities to form strong professional relationships and effectively manage your resources come into play. You need to make every client feel like they are your most valued, since they will inevitably feel that they should be. Juggling priorities and making time in an already hectic schedule at a moment’s notice are two of the key things that I’ll have to master on my way to becoming PR person extraordinaire, it would seem.

Wish me luck!

Adam

 

Aside

Beyoncé’s lip-synching ‘scandal’ – Was it all it was made out to be?

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Did she? Didn’t she? Does it really matter either way? The entertainment world has been abuzz recently because of reports that Beyoncé lip-synched her performance of The Star-Spangled Banner at president Obama’s inauguration.

The controversy first began to swirl when it became apparent that the US Marine Corps band, who provided the musical backing for many of the day’s performances, were not actually playing their instruments during the singer’s performance. A spokesperson for the band then revealed that while they had indeed played live for most of the ceremony, they were asked to mime to a pre-recorded track for Beyoncé’s rendition of the national anthem, seemingly confirming that her much-lauded ‘live’ performance was anything but.

beyonce-inauguration

(Image credit: PA Images/Ron Sachs/CNP)

The revelation sparked a media frenzy, with social networking sites being flooded with various opinions on the topic at hand. Many were disappointed, some were outraged, and others simply failed to see what all the fuss was about. After all, maybe Bey’s team simply felt it was better to be safe than sorry. The adverse weather conditions didn’t exactly provide the ideal environment for a five-star vocal, and Christina Aguilera was publically crucified for botching the lyrics to the song 2 years earlier. The decision to pre-record Beyoncé’s voice may have been a pre-emptive strike of sorts; an effort to avoid what could have been a PR disaster.

And yet, it could be argued that a PR disaster is exactly what transpired. A swathe of negative publicity arose almost immediately, which would certainly have been worthy of some damage control strategies being implemented.  However, there was no public apology, no statement issued by Beyoncé’s publicist, no effort made to either confirm or deny the course of events. Save for the singer herself posting a somewhat cryptic picture to her official Instagram (shown below), Bey’s camp remained curiously tight-lipped over the days following the scandal. In fact, the only real damage control was done by the aforementioned Marine Corps band who, after lighting the fire, attempted to quell it less than 24 hours later by suggesting that the band themselves decided not to play live due to them not having had enough rehearsal time with Beyoncé. Regarding the singer’s vocal performance, the official line became that “nobody in the band was in a position to assess” whether or not it was live.

beyonce-hits-back-at-miming-scandal-superbowl-rehearsals

(Image credit: Instagram)

Beyoncé did eventually cop to lip-synching to a pre-recorded track during her performance, at a press conference held almost a fortnight after the ceremony. She cited the lack of time to properly rehearse as the reason she made the decision. But had the damage already been done? Had she waited too long before getting her side of the story out there?? As a PR student, I’ve been told time and time again that the worst thing you can do in a time of crisis is keep quiet. You’re prevented for doing much in the way of damage control, and your publics will interpret your silence as an admission of guilt anyway. If you’re caught out, own up to it and move forward. It took Beyoncé’s team a little while to arrive at this conclusion, and some might say procrastinating the way they did was a pretty big PR no-no.

Interestingly though, it’s worth considering that they may actually have had something of a master plan all along. Beyoncé had long been announced as the performer for the half-time show at the Superbowl, a mere two weeks after the inauguration. Could her management have been hoping that her performance at that event would speak for itself? Beyoncé has a reputation as one of the best performers of her generation, so maybe they were relying on the Superbowl as a platform for her to silence the critics, rendering any form of public apology for the lip-synching debacle completely unnecessary.

showbiz-destinys-child-reunited-at-beyonce-super-bowl-show

(Image credit: PA Imades/Gerald Herbert/AP)

Fortunately it looks like that was precisely the effect, intended or otherwise, that the singer’s halftime set had on the general public. Everything from the dynamic performance to the mini Destiny’s Child reunion to the sheer ubiquity of Beyoncé’s back catalogue of hits helped to ensure that her show was the talking point of Twitter for the whole night. And that little miming incident from 14 days ago? Nothing but a distant memory…

Adam

Becks, Handsome Philanthropist or Cynical PR Move? And does it really matter?

Tags

, , , , , ,

It has to be said Becks has had some fantastic PR over the years. Going from being one of the most hated men in England, after the ’98 World Cup, to a shoe-in for a knighthood in the space of 15 years is an impressive feat. But how much of it is down to him being a genuine, sincere person and how much is it down to PR stunts and successful image management?

Image

Last week Becks secured a move to French side Paris Saint Germain, worth £170,000-a-week, and he promptly announced in his press conference that 100% of his wages would be going to a local children’s charity. For something that I feel should be seen as incredibly positive, it has been met with mixed reactions from the French press and across the world. Some say it was merely a way of David avoiding the contentious tax system in France, and others say it’s just a publicity stunt that will still see Beckham net a fortune, due to loop-holes in his contract regarding shirt sales.

Regardless of whether there are ulterior motives behind this move it’s worth asking, ‘do the positives of this action outweigh the negatives?’ and ‘do we ever make entirely unselfish acts?’ Like in the TV show Friends where Phoebe lets a bee sting her in an attempt at a purely unselfish act, only for the bee to (obviously) die.

Image

So, was it a not-so-cheap stunt or genuine act of kindness? I would always pick the latter.  Essentially, when answering that question, it boils down to what you know about the character of the man. For perhaps England’s biggest celebrity, he seems so down-to-earth and unchanged by his fame. Watching him on the Jonathan Ross show talking about how important it is to him that his children are polite and thinking back to the personal involvement he took with Kirsty Howard and Kirsty’s Appeal can only lead me to believe he is a good person. His charity work should be met with respect, not derision and cynicism.

The Boy Who Cried “I’m Clean”

Tags

, , , ,

It feels like a long time ago since my post about Lance Armstrong, which speculated on his, then imminent, interview with Oprah Winfrey back in mid-January. I called for her to ask some hard-hitting questions and she certainly did that, but as I predicted, rather than put the matter to bed, the interview has opened up more questions to just how dark the history of the Texan’s drug operation was.

I presumed this would be the interview where Armstrong spoke of all the years of being wracked with guilt; I presumed this would be the turning point for him to finally be open and honest. I presumed and assumed and I made an ass out of me.

Okay, yes, he finally owned up to using performance enhancing drugs – but in doing so he wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know.

Image

(Photo credit: Sports Illustrated’s blog)

He seemed more saddened by the fact he got caught than sorry for the actions he had taken. Lines like “It was a seventy-five million dollar day”, when talking about his sponsors calling him to tell him they were terminating his contracts are hardly going to endear him to the public. In all actuality, it seems like the whole interview was more of a ploy to allow him to compete in marathons and triathlons than an attempt to rectify his public persona.

But what bothered me most of all about the interview is how he has not been humbled by his monumental fall from grace. He still has this ‘Us versus Them’ mentality. And in the interview where he finally came clean and ‘revealed all’, you couldn’t help but feel he told a whole heap of new lies to smooth over the damages caused by his original one. When he comes out and says he didn’t dope during his return to cycling in 2009 and 2010 the word ‘bulls**t!’ instantly leapt into my head, as it did a number of times throughout the interview. I guess lying is a habit that is going to take some time to smooth out of his system but all in all, I would count the Oprah Winfrey interview as a PR fail.

Below is an ESPN interview with acclaimed sports journalist Rick Reilly who gives his reaction to the interview.