Flack on Friday: Reebok, PRWeek Awards, Chinese guests, lager and coffee (not together)

In Flack this week: Reebok puts its foot in it, PRWeek Awards goes down a storm, a coffee cussing controversy, and a Belfast take on Back to the Future.

Reebok T-shirt blunder

Reebok was left slightly red-faced this week after it had to pull the range of T-shirts it designed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Ireland.

Ahead of tomorrow's Fight Night 76 card in Dublin, Reebok designed a T-shirt featuring a map of Ireland, omitting Northern Ireland. The ‘UFC Ireland Map Tee’ was criticised by fans, who described it as insensitive and offensive.The unfortunate wording on the shirt read: "Show your UFC territorial allegiance with this UFC Ireland map tee."

Last year Reebok signed a six-year deal worth a reported $70m to become the UFC's exclusive apparel provider. The company blamed a "design flaw" for the gaffe and removed all the shirts from its online store. Oops.

Red rag to a public affairs man

Flack's invite clearly got lost in the post, so on Wednesday it had to be content with following the lavish banquet thrown for Chinese leader Xi Jinping via the Twitter feed of public affairs consultant Alex Deane.

Flack is not sure whether Deane, a Conservative councillor in the City of London, was complaining or merely making a statement of fact in his tweeted observations that there was "a lot of socialism" in Jinping's speech and mentioning that the Lord Mayor of London name checked several socialists in his speech.

Nonetheless, following a later tweet from Jinping's tweet, we can only assume that Deane didn't go home to look for reds under his bed.

A very social awards do

Flack is still recovering from the PRWeek Awards on Tuesday - you can catch up with the gossip from the night here. As usual, the event proved to be a major talking point in the industry, with PR folk swapping congratulations, sharing selfies and generally enjoying some proper ‘bants’ on social media.

New stats from Brandwatch have revealed that there were nearly 800 mentions of the awards on social platforms. In total 37 per cent of mentions were positive and (outrageous though one might find it) two per cent were negative - who are these party poopers?

Certainly, co-host Richard Osmon clearly had a good time, tweeting his appreciation after the event:

Craic to the Future

There was no lack of interesting brandjacking going on for Back to the Future Day on Wednesday, but this campaign by Smarts Communicate for Harp lager caught Flack’s attention. It re-imagines a popular scene from the movie franchise staring the ‘Harp angel’ and a Belfast taxi driver called Marty. Enjoy:

Storm in a coffee cup?

A tasty controversy next. South London coffee shop Fuckoffee has found itself splashed across social and news media after being forced to remove its branding from its shopfront after pressure from its landlord.

A number of news outlets including the London Evening Standard and the Huffington Post have since picked up the story. The Bermondsey-based cafe itself has been making the most of its moment in the media spotlight, and has retweeted messages of support.

One creative professional was worried about the potential closure of Fuckoffee:

The whole affair has won the cafe a number of fans.

Sadly, it is the end for Fuckoffee - well, the sign at least - as the cafe has said it will take it down on Friday.

Fishing for a compliment

It won't surprise Flack readers to hear that the PRWeek team is occasionally sent freebies (a jar of pickled eggs, a bumper pack of toothpicks, that sort of thing) by PR firms eager to curry favour.

Of course, it would never penetrate the team's upstanding ethics. This is especially so in the case of the agency that sent several orders of fish and chips to our Teddington offices last Friday - not realising that most of the PRWeek team decamp to the central London base that day. Ah well - it's the thought that counts, right?

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