Flack on Friday: #Piggate, Jeremy Corbyn, Volkswagen, McDonald's, Manchester United

In Flack this week: a satirical take on Corbyn's comms; Gordon Brown's PR man Damian McBride talks #piggate; and where is our free stuff?

Jupp's japes on Corbyn's comms
It's not just PRWeek readers who have been puzzling over Jeremy Corbyn's media strategy (or lack thereof) in recent days, the new Labour leader's PR moves also attracted the attention of the writers of what is undoubtedly Flack's favourite Friday-night satirical radio panel show, Radio 4's The News Quiz.

Chair Miles Jupp told last Friday's listeners: "The cuts to tax credits will affect some of Britain's lowest-paid workers - such as Jeremy Corbyn's media strategist, whose budget currently only stretches to a pager, and six months membership of LinkedIn, which is free."

Why no squeal from Cameron’s PRs?
We’re probably all sick (perhaps literally) by now of hearing the lurid tales involving David Cameron and a particular farmyard animal, but Flack was interested to hear this take on events from someone who has dealt with his fair share of political scandal (although nothing quite like this). Writing in The Guardian, Damian McBride, former PR adviser to Gordon Brown when he was PM, gave his professional take on how on how Cameron’s comms team has handled the story.

McBride questioned why Number 10 didn’t issue an official denial, or stir up controversy around the author of the allegations, Tory fundraiser Lord Ashcroft.

"In the absence of an instant bucket of water, the story has caught fire over the past two days. Not only that, it’s allowed other newspapers to declare open season on Cameron’s private life."

Or could there be another reason? "Perhaps the ‘what’s the truth?’ conversation with the Prime Minister wasn’t as clear cut as they might have liked, and they had no option but to let the story run, let everyone have their fun, and get on with the business of governing. Better that than officially denying the story and creating a much bigger problem for themselves if the alleged photographic evidence of the pig incident did emerge."

Flack wonders if something even more stomach-churning will be served up on in the coming days.

Ein Volkswagen, ein Reich, ein Führer
Onto the Volkswagen emissions scandal now and, as is often the case, the satirical news site The Daily Mash has offered its own thought-provoking take on one of the big issues of the day. It proclaimed: "A car company founded by Nazis in 1937 is facing a public relations disaster..."

Football: a matter of life and death, and theology
Flack saw this tweet from a Manchester United fan account pop up on its timeline this week:

It's something to do with football, as far as Flack can tell - Moses and Jesus both being players for Melchester Rovers and Accrington Stanley respectively. Nothing unusual with footy banter on Twitter - what is more interesting is that the person who retweeted it onto Flack's timeline was @FrazerMark - the director of comms for the UK's chief rabbi.

Mrs Potts and Jodi declined to comment?
Flack read with interest a press release entitled 'Rescue Horses Front New Charity Campaign' from the charity World Horse Welfare this week. It describes Mrs Potts and her filly foal Jodi as having been named as "the ‘faces’ of a fundraising appeal for the charity". Sadly, the charity didn't indulge in any sort of 'straight from the horse's mouth' joke - which left Flack with a decidedly long face.

PRWeek stomachs its lowly status
If ever evidence were needed that PR is the junior and less creative discipline when compared with advertising, it came this week in the form of a delivery van to Haymarket towers, which houses not only PRWeek but its advertising stablemate Campaign. The van was stuffed to the gunnels with personalised pizza, Coke and lager, bearing the name of every member of the Campaign team. Not that Flack is resentful or anything but the last freebie he received was a 35g miniature of mango chutney. And that was three weeks ago now. Come on PR people, you’ll have to up your creative game if you want to be taken seriously.


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