DIARY: Agencies create some Christmas cheer at the expense of journalists

The festive period was a time of practical joking for two agencies: Borkowski PR and Communique PR.

Borkowski, not content with sending out boring old Christmas cards, decided to send out a mock-up BBC News Online story to journalists and clients with the ludicrous claim that the firm had been hired by the Vatican, 'to put Christ back in Xmas'.

Creative director Mike Gilmore, who devised the spoof story, says that despite an online poll about the message asking: 'Is this rubbish?' and a quote from agency head Mark Borkowski referring to a senior vatican PRO as a 'straight talker who shoots from the hip', a number of journalists were fooled. Sadly, however, he refuses to dish out names.

In a similar move, Manchester and London-based Communique PR produced a festive CD, calendar and booklet to celebrate The Mascaras, 'Manchester's only all-girl punk band from 1977'.

Excited but naive journalists were quickly let down when the band, which even staged an impromptu gig in Manchester's Albert Square, were revealed to be four Communique staffers.

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