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.

A French woman's YouTube plea for internet users to help her find the father of her unborn child has been revealed as a PR stunt
A French woman's YouTube plea for internet users to help her find the father of her unborn child has been revealed as a PR stunt

Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Bad news for the ranks of celebrity chefs – they might have go back to cooking to earn a crust.

A Weber Shandwick study released this week found that celebrity chef or brand ambassador endorsements of restaurants or food products have far less impact than recommendations from friends or family in Asia-Pacific - with the exception of China.

In Singapore and Korea, just 21 per cent of respondents said they would react favourably to an endorsement. In Australia, only 16 per cent said the same.

Despite this, Singapore in particular continues to see a rise in the number of celebrity chef-backed restaurants, with Gordon Ramsay being the latest addition last month with his Bread venture.

Lets hope the City-State continues to pull in Chinese tourists – otherwise Ramsay and his pals will be dropping ‘The F-Word’ like hot pans.

Package holiday

What’s the best way to get people to visit Mooloolaba, near Brisbane?

You could highlight the Sunshine Coast’s beaches, its food and wine festivals or its music bashes. Or you could be really creative and devise a PR stunt to make it look like the kind of place where people get pregnant after one-night-stands. Which is what Sunny Coast Social Media did.

In a video posted on YouTube on 30 August which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, a French woman describes how she became pregnant while on holiday, only to lose the phone number of the man she had met there, and appealed for help tracking him down.

"We know there's going to be a lot of people who are upset by this but we wanted to put Mooloolaba on the map because its a wonderful place," said the agency.

In other news, Mooloolaba Tourism’s official slogan is ‘Just come as you are’.

Movers and shakers

In Asia business wins, DT Communications - the international arm of BlueFocus Communication Group - has secured new deals with the renewable energy award Zayed Future Energy Prize, American online transaction platform Payoneer, and the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau. while Eastwest PR has been appointed the Asia-Pacific PR agency of Smaato, a real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers and app developers.

Over in the UK, the bank Williams & Glyn, which will be separated from RBS next year, is on the hunt for a PR agency, as is British Gas after it put it consumer PR brief out to tender. Last time around the firm reappointed Blue Rubicon in 2012 as its retained comms agency.

People on the move this week include Khoo Yin who has been named FleishmanHillard's new general manager in Singapore after previously heading-up the office’s technology practice. Meanwhile, MSLGROUP has appointed China director Lusha Niu as its new regional practice leader for financial communications, in addition to her current responsibilities.

In the UK, Sky News executive producer Kate McAndrew is to join Cicero Group as a senior counsel working in its corporate PR and public affairs practices, and Oxfam has appointed former Good Morning Britain news correspondent Cordelia Kretzschmar as head of public relations. In the US, Paul Hicks, EVP of communications and public policy at the NFL, has joined Glover Park Group as an MD

Final thought

Brands across all industries jumped into the Twitter sandbox on Tuesday to have some fun with #DescribeMyJobToA5YearOld, a hashtag that trended throughout the day.  Amid the dull and worthy, Sephora stood out as our clear winner with this little beauty…

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