Top and flop of the month: Invictus Games and Camila Batmanghelidjh

From the November edition of PRWeek UK: Prince Harry was praised for his involvement in the Invictus Games whereas former Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh didn't do herself any favours during a parliamentary select committee hearing.

Top of the month: US launch of Invictus Games strikes gold

It may not have been the most high-profile global sporting event of recent weeks, but the US launch of the second Invictus Games proved to be a PR triumph that in its own way was comparable with the hugely (and rightly) praised Rugby World Cup.

The Games are an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, with the 2016 tournament held in Orlando, Florida, next May.

The set-piece event saw Invictus Games founder Prince Harry have a high-profile meeting with President Obama at the Oval Office, followed by a discussion with Michelle Obama.

The prince also took time to meet injured veterans.

Prince Harry had a feckless youth, but the tone he struck throughout the campaign was just right, emphasising the bravery and sacrifice of the contestants and saying his deployment in Afghanistan "changed the direction" of his life.

Lighter moments involved a visit to a wheelchair basketball game when the First Lady addressed the women present by saying: "Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed Prince Harry is here."

The extensive media coverage on both sides of the Atlantic also focused on the personal and moving stories of injured service personnel, much of which stressed the positive impact the Invictus Games has had on their lives.

Good Relations handled PR for the event with Chime stablemate CSM also involved.


Flop of the month: Batmanghelidjh baffles Parliament

Camila Batmanghelidjh’s performance at a parliamentary select committee about the now-defunct Kids Company charity was variously described by observers as an episode from the political satire The Thick of It and a car crash in slow motion.

Batmanghelidjh’s answers to the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee were either defensive or, quite simply, impossible to understand.

An example is when the former CEO of Kids Co was asked by MPs where millions of pounds of funding to the charity had gone. Answer: "It was conceptualised."

This did not go down well with MPs, who accused her of "verbal ectoplasm". MP Paul Flynn even asked her to "stop talking".

Even fellow charity professionals could only hang their heads. One said the answers Batmanghelidjh gave would provide material for public affairs people training clients on select committee appearances for generations to come.

After the hearing, Batmanghelidjh gave PRWeek an interview in which she said she did not believe in PR or branding. Alan Yentob, Batmanghelidjh’s fellow accused at the hearing, admitted he had taken advice from Edelman.

Given the lesser mauling Yentob has received since, it is fair to say Batmanghelidjh could on this occasion have sacrificed her principles, and taken some advice from those who practise communications.

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