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.

Pain not pleasure: E.L. James' PR team probably couldn't bear to look at her Twitter Q&A debacle
Pain not pleasure: E.L. James' PR team probably couldn't bear to look at her Twitter Q&A debacle

Mopping up

As the week long combination of creativity and carnage at Cannes came to end, cue much discussion about its relevance, the standing of PR and whether the industry should boycott the "orgy of advertising egos".

All of which is highly worthy stuff, but it was another display of (very) public relations which caught our attention after a couple were snapped late at night in the full throes of passion on the red carpet outside Le Palais. Let’s hope it was only the picture that went viral…

The tail-end of last week also saw PRWeek conclude its coverage of its 2015 Global Power List with the 300+ entrants choosing Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It their favorite fictional PR character, pipping to the post The West Wing's CJ Cregg.

We could spend hours reciting Tucker’s perfectly formed and foul-mouthed put downs, but as the great man once said: "I've got a to-do list here that's longer than a f**king Leonard Cohen song."

Looking down

Quickly moving on, two studies released exclusively to PRWeek Asia this week struck a somber note. The first, an Edelman report, revealed frankly woeful levels of engagement around branded content on social media in Southeast Asia. The second, from Lewis PR, uncovered how three out of four marketing execs quizzed in Asia-Pacific were not confident their teams were effectively structured to execute multichannel campaigns. Both reports can be viewed, depending on your disposition, as a massive opportunity or (at the moment) a fundamental failing. Either way, brands need to rapidly get better at both, which is bad news if you are the fella in the office who only specializes in pushing out PDF newsletters.


Easily our most inspirational story of the week was the award-winning, volunteer-led PR campaign to tackle homophobia in sport, spearheaded by Australia’s first gay rugby team the Sydney Convicts. What they have achieved in the past four years is nothing short of spectacular, but they are now looking for an agency with enough muscle to help them spread the word in Asia too. "Homosexuality is still a taboo subject in many parts of Asia," said the Convicts’ media manager Erik Denison. With so many global agencies celebrating the US Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same sex marriage last week, it’d be great if one or more of them could help show how #LoveWins in Asian sport too. Check out the campaign's video featuring a stellar line-up of sporting stars...

Movers and shakers

The big, and surprising, people move of the week came at MSLGroup where Olivier Fleurot is relinquishing the CEO reins to take up a SVP role with parent company Publicis Worldwide, the president of which, Arthur Sadoun, is taking over direct responsibility for MSL.

If Fleurot had any inkling of the move, he played his cards close to his chest in a recent in-depth interview with PRWeek Asia. He did say, however: "We need to be extremely pragmatic, flexible and ready for any new opportunity," but we’re pretty sure he was talking about his desire to secure more acquisitions in the region…

Also on a global level, Michael Mullen, SVP of corporate and government affairs at Heinz, is to take the same role at the new, enlarged business following its expected merger with Kraft, while Toyota’s global comms head Julie Hamp quit following her recent drugs arrest.

Here in Asia, ex-Cohn & Wolfe exec Ravi Khan was appointed to Weber Shandwick’s India leadership team, and Ruder Finn continued its Chinese expansion drive by acquiring the China businesses of Japanese firm Kyodo PR. In terms of contract wins, Indian conglomerate Godrej Group handed its consolidated PR brief to Adfactors, while MSL was positively fizzing after winning the Coca-Cola comms brief in India from Perfect Relations.

In the UK, Japanese food supplier V&H appointed Palm PR as its first comms agency as it launches a retail offering, while Manifest no doubt raised a glass or two after winning the deal for the British launch of German beer brand Berliner Pilsner.

Final thought...

Twitter Q&As leave more scars than S&M. Just ask Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James and her PR team...

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