Flack on Friday: 50 Shades of Comms, JK Rowling, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, PRCA, and a massive hammock

In Flack this week: 50 Shades of Comms, Short shrift on JK Rowling interview, PRCA's Ingham in fine voice, Jose Mourinho's (lack of) smile, and which PR stunt can accommodate 1,000 fish in a New York park?

PRCA chief Ingham warms up for karaoke with a rousing speech. The mysterious Flack managed to stay just out of shot
PRCA chief Ingham warms up for karaoke with a rousing speech. The mysterious Flack managed to stay just out of shot

50 Shades of Comms
Flack's colleagues on the newsdesk enjoy getting their loyal readers excited over our scoops - but it's less common for them to be titillated, that Flack is aware of anyhow. That changed this week with Wednesday's story 'Hack turned council PR man pens racy novel - about hack turned council PR man' - although one Twitter user has cast doubt on the realist credentials of the work by Graham Cole, the comms manager at Gravesham Borough Council:

It turns out Cole's The Last Punter is not the only novel featuring PR protagonists. Daniel Tyte, an executive director at Working Word, has since drawn Flack's attention to Half Plus Seven, about Bill who "lived in a messy rented room, sold his soul daily in a PR agency and couldn't remember the name of the last woman he screwed".

That work (front cover pictured right) came out last April after around six years in gestation, Tyte told Flack - and he now has until the end of the year to finish 'Alone, Together', which while sadly not set in PR-land is described by Tyte as "a tale of lost love and lost Wi-Fi signal".

It's not unusual...
Flack was treated to an evening's schmoozing at the PRCA headquarters this week to celebrate a year since it moved into the new office. Everyone's favourite free encyclopedia tells Flack that paper is the fitting gift for a first anniversary, but Flack's failure to turn up with any celebratory A4 didn't dampen the mood. Those who stayed later were treated to PRCA chief Francis Ingham's karaoke tune of choice - the Tom Jones classic 'Delilah'.

Answers on the back of a postcard, or perhaps Twitter, if you've any ideas for appropriate karaoke tracks for PRs - we'll start with 'Release me' (think about it...) as made famous by Engelbert Humperdinck.

Finally, just for the avoidance of any doubt we should make clear that PRCA comms man Matt Cartmell is normal-sized. This picture from the event may not give that impression, thanks to the oversized glass he is using. We should also probably make clear that most of the PRCA's wine glasses are a more conventional size, alas.

No solution
Flack received a press release from NGO Lumos this week about a piece of work it had done with Harry Potter author JK Rowling, which had a rather curt ending. "Notes to Editors: JK Rowling is not available for interview," it concluded. Fortunately, Flack isn't an editor, but rejoices in the official title of 'senior vice-president, Flack Solutions' - so we assume this doesn't apply, and look forward to a good chinwag this afternoon.

Hamming it up
Flack enjoyed this cute PR stunt: for the launch of computer game Paradise Bay from Candy Crush maker King Digital Entertainment, a Guinness World Record was set for the world’s largest hammock, measuring 65ft x 31ft. That's more than ten times the size of a regular hammock, apparently, and enough to host 170 averaged-sized people lying head to head, 24 New York taxis or, um, "1,000 bass-sized fish", we're told. PR agency TVC and Ketchum US, were behind the launch at New York’s Liberty State Park, which featured Hollywood actress Malin Åkerman of Watchmen, 27 Dresses and The Proposal.

Say cheese, Jose!

Thanks to the folks at the agency Kindred for pointing this one out: Chelsea FC launched their partnership with IT firm Wipro yesterday, leading of course to the obligatory cheesy photoshoot to give the football club's Twitter page a chance to say how "delighted" they were to have teamed up. Except Chelsea's charismatic coach Jose Mourinho looked anything but...

Cheryl keeps her sparkle
Harnessing the power of celebrity is important for any brand, so Flack was interested to see which star judges from The X Factor have been the subject of most conversation on social media during the live shows on Saturday and Sunday. There was a clear winner, as ex-Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini romped home with 22.5k mentions, according to stats from Brandwatch. Next was Simon Cowell (17.5k), with Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw collecting only around 7,500 each. Cheryl is rapidly cementing her place as the nation’s sweetheart, earlier this week receiving praise for her impassioned rant against body-shaming, going as far as to say it should be made illegal.

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