Friday Drop: Twitter Jitters

Bad week for David Cameron. 'Tory turns the air blue' screeched The Sun.

David Cameron
David Cameron

‘A PR stumble' twittered Mark Borkowski. Tory overlord David ‘Dave' Cameron's interview by Absolute Radio's Christian O'Connell earlier this week prompted some fascinating analyses of what is and isn't a swear word. Dave had treated us to one of those cringey, ‘I'm your best mate down the boozer' type interviews. When asked by O'Connell if he was on twitter, he shot back a priceless one liner: "No, the trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it - too many twits might make a tw*t." Much mirth in the Absolute studio. But Tw*tgate was to take the shine off Dave's performance.

Cynical readers on the Guardian website were quick to suggest that it may have been a rehearsed line. Could Dave have been using a cynical ploy to make us think this Eton educated, ex Bullingham Club member was just ‘one of the lads'? Either way, it seems to have sparked considerable debate. Was this a slightly ham fisted attempt to ingratiate himself with white van man? Or a slightly boorish double slip of the tongue? Either way, we're not talking about his policies as a result. Tw*ts your lot.

Lessons

Coarse language generally offends. People probably don't want this from politicians

Cynical people will always see through attempts to portray yourself as something you are not

Think of the impact of the soundbite not just simply about the words

 

Good week for Joanna Lumley

From Patsy Stone to the doyenne of Kathmandu. It's been quite a journey for the comely Joanna Lumley. Not content with achieving near legendary status thanks to her Absolutely Fabulous performances, Lumley has been making a grade A nuisance of herself to the government over the long running dispute over Gurkha's rights. You may remember her gentle but slightly embarrassing bullying of then Immigration Minister Phil Woolas at an impromptu press conference earlier in the summer which earned her some frowns from a few quarters. But what a turn around. Her direct action led to a government climb down and sparked wild gaffawing in front of the Commons. This week, Lumley travelled to Nepal for an audience with the Nepalese Prime Minister as her bandwagon rolled east.

Clearly a national hero, banners proclaiming her a daughter of Nepal and even a ‘goddess' greeted her at the airport where a slightly bewildered looking Lumley fought through a tide of gurning well wishers. Inviting three photographers and a feature writer helped make sure that the UK knew all about her latest travails. Her image is now stratospheric and this was the kind of PR money can't buy. Pass me the Bolly Eddie.

 Lessons

Single issues can be very powerful when harnessed with positive PR

Inviting a press pack abroad will mean coverage as media outlets will almost definitely feature your event to get a return on their investment

Celebrity endorsements are commonplace, however, the most successful are those allied with a genuine passion

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PRWeek and Waggener Edstrom will host an event on 9 September for in-house communicators, discussing the lessons derived from the Friday Drop stories. For your free place, email with your name, organisation and title.

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