The PR week: The good, the bad and the bizarre from the last seven days

Your rapid-fire review of the global goings-on in PR, as viewed by PRWeek Asia editor Gary Scattergood.

Jared Fogle this week agreed to plead guilty to child porn charges
Jared Fogle this week agreed to plead guilty to child porn charges

The only way is ethics

So what does UK government ministry the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and an anti-perspirant to have in common? The answer? Both got caught out this week for using "fake" case studies. The DWP printed examples of benefit claimants praising its new, tougher procedures, only for it to be discovered it had used stock pics and made-up the quotes for "illustrative purposes". Meanwhile wire service The Press Association apologised to, and refunded, a number of national newspapers after PRWeek discovered that the subject of one of its 'real life' features was in fact an employee of PR firm Fuel, which was representing the product it endorsed. The said product was Odaban, an antiperspirant applied overnight to help combat "excessive sweating" - something we're pretty sure those in charge of the two campaigns were in dire need of once they realised they had been rumbled.


Jared Fogle was once big in the US, literally. Known as the Subway Guy, he was a former spokesman and ad star for Subway after attributing his weightloss to eating the firm's food. This week, however, his reputation was in tatters after agreeing to plead guilty to child porn charges. For its part, Subway, moved swiftly and decisively. "We no longer have a relationship with Jared," the firm tweeted on Aug 19, adding a day later: "Jared Fogle’s actions are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values. We had already ended our relationship with Jared." According one source, that's all they are willing to say, adding  "Subway is more interested in talking about delicious sandwiches and chips and new menu items." You don't say.

Movers and shakers

HR departments across the globe have been kept busy this week with a glut of new senior hires taking place. Starting at the top, MSLGROUP named FleishmanHillard's Guillaume Herbette as its next CEO, and former Grayling CEO Pete Pedersen joined consumer electronics firm Sonos as global PR head.

In the US, H+K raided Citizen Relations to make Beth Balsam its new US CEO, while at Text100 Colby Jones has left New York for a senior role at the firm's Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile in the UK, MSLGroup hired former deputy editor Alistair Potter as head of content, McDonald's UK corporate affairs chief Nick Hindle stepped down, Royal Mail comms chief Shane O'Riordain is joining Santander UK, and DDA Public Relations appointed Neil Bhatt and Robert Prevezer to its executive board, which is also bolstered by newly promoted managing director Aimée Anderson and Ben Hayes.

By contrast it was a quiet week for new business announcements, Zeno cleaned up China by winning the comms brief for US cleaning giant Hoover, while in the UK Vodafone appointed Mischief to manage its consumer account following a four-way pitch that included incumbent Burson-Marsteller.

Final thought

We never thought we'd suggest the Aussies take a cricketing lesson from a Frenchman, but having been trounced by England in The Ashes they could do far worse than follow the example set by Publicis Worldwide president Arthur Sadoun when it comes to playing with a straight bat. Speaking after announcing Guillaume Herbette's appointment as MSL's next CEO, PRWeek asked him: Do you see further integration with other agencies in the group, such as Leo Burnett or Saatchi & Saatchi? "I’m not the CEO of Publicis Groupe," he replied, "so you’d have to ask Maurice Levy." That told us!

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