Flack on Friday: 'Sweaty-gate', DWP & Morrissey, British Airways, The Romans

Flack is back, in a new, regular Friday slot. This week there's some sober thinking on 'sweaty-gate'; an insight into the dangers of not checking email attachments; and channelling Morrissey for the DWP fake case studies incident.

PR in a sweat
The ‘sweaty-gate’ case has been among the main talking points in the industry this week. To recap, on Monday PRWeek reported that the Press Association had apologised to, and refunded, a number of national newspapers after this publication discovered that the subject of one of its 'real life' features was in fact an employee of a PR firm, Fuel PR, that represented the deodorant product it endorsed. Among the many (mostly angry) musings on the incident on social media, Flack noticed this one that definitely hit home, from Core Cities UK comms manager Will Mapplebeck:

DWP gets a kicking
The second misleading case study story to hit the PR industry this week came when the Department for Work and Pensions was revealed to have used comments and images from fake claimants in a leaflet designed to demonstrate the positive impact of controversial welfare changes. For example:

Twitter users were quick to parody the shameful incident using the hashtag #fakeDWPstories. This one, using quotes from a famous Smiths song, made Flack chuckle:

Others adopted a more serious satirical tone, this one taking on the guise of the downtrodden protagonist of George Orwell's 1984:

Not Excel-ing
Without wanting to teach our granny how to suck eggs, here's a quick tip for PRs. When you promise to send PRWeek a picture to illustrate a story of your latest client win, be very careful that you don't instead attach the Excel document of a client invoice instead. Easy mistake to make, and we won't name names but the PR in question who did exactly that this week was mortified – although it's not clear if that's because they were embarrassed at how expensive their services were, or how cheap they were.

High art
This campaign piqued Flack’s interest: as part of its Big British Airways Take Off programme, launched today, BA has created an unusual piece of artwork. Flack won’t spoil the surprise, but the impressive project involved five members of BA staff, 600,000 coins and one aircraft hanger. Check out the time-lapsed video below:

Vive la Romans
Talking of air travel, and fresh from winning the BrewDog PR account, The Romans boarded a private jet for their summer away-day to rural France. The eight-strong team at the start-up, which launched in January, were told they would be celebrating their stellar start in a 'nice French restaurant'. Little did they know that they would be re-enacting the invasion of Gaul.

The original PR
Any PR folk who – perish the thought – weren't home by 7pm on Wednesday will have missed out on that evening's edition of The One Show. No big deal, you might think, but in fact that meant missing a feature by BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner on Basil Clarke – a pioneering war reporter who later became the UK's very first press officer in 1917 and has been described as the UK comms industry's founding father. Catch up on iPlayer from 15 minutes into the show.

Causing a stir
Here’s an unusual way for a PR agency to get involved in its local community. West Yorkshire-based Faith PR has teamed up with four other local businesses to open Big Shots, a 500 square foot café in the new Thornhill Brigg Mills office development at its Brighouse home town. Faith PR director and Big Shots partner Carl Hopkins said: "Having branded and launched other people’s businesses it was fascinating and fun to create our own brand and launch this business for ourselves. We believe it will become a real hub of activity and an asset to our team and the wider business community in Brighouse."

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