Flack on Friday: The Mirror, Freuds, Lansons, Frank PR, IPA, JD Wetherspoon

In Flack this week: Mirror story on ex-ministers entering PR not what it seems, Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin talks blunt comms, adland finally catches up with PR, and Freuds PR man hounds out a viral sensation

Spin spun

It's been a strange few days for former senior politicians in the PR industry. The Mirror's front page story on Sunday, under the headline 'All aboard Cam's £1m gravy train', claimed four of David Cameron's former ministers now work in PR. They are Paul Burstow and Ed Davey, now at MHP, Steve Webb at Royal London and the fourth – Sir Hugh Robertson – who, according to the article, works for a PR firm that represents the Dubai government.

Flack received a phone call from Robertson – the former Middle East minister – setting the record straight that Falcon and Associates is not in fact a PR firm.

Despite this, the Mirror's beef is that former ministers are racking up thousands of pounds per day in "plum part-time roles" in the sectors they used to regulate. Although the paper says: "They have broken no rules and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing."

Either way, the lesson here is: don't always believe what you read about PR.


Keep up, adland!

Flack paid a visit to an unfamiliar corner of agencyland this week, attending the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's New Year's reception. The big announcement of the night was that the IPA would soon become the CIPA, the additional 'C' meaning chartered, referencing the privy council having given its seal of approval. On behalf of the PR industry as a whole, Flack would like to congratulate adland for catching up with PR, which got its royal charter – putting the 'c' in CIPR – a full 10 years ago.


Pub chief tells it like it is... usually

Tim Martin, founder and chairman of pub chain JD Wetherspoon, lived up to his reputation as an outspoken and forthright interviewee when he spoke to PRWeek recently about his views of PR, the media and branding. Martin admitted to being blunter than most when he wanted to get across a point of view – but there are times when even he pulls his punches. "We possibly take a bit more time to work out what our position is and try to present it in a relatively unvarnished way," Martin said. "I think we believe in making it blunt, although if you ask me a difficult enough question I’ll probably be evasive like everyone else..."


Lansons’ Langham gee'd up for equine role

A man of many talents and interests, Lansons co-founder and CEO Tony Langham has been named as the new man in the saddle at Racing Enterprises, the company behind horseracing promotional and marketing body Great British Racing. Langham, who starts his three-year stint as chairman on 1 February, is a long-time follower of horseracing as both a racegoer and punter – he even celebrated his marriage at the races at Newmarket in 1993. Flack expects Tony has been after the role furlong time (sorry). Either way, it's a great achievement - well done, Tony.


Freudian clip

Flack prides itself on keeping up to speed with all the latest cute cat content on the web, but regrets that it fell behind the canine content curve over Christmas. You might have seen this adorable video of an excited dog unwrapping its own owner on Christmas day over the festive period.

Coming home for Christmas (...as a giant present for your dog)

Posted by Noel Parsons on Friday, 25 December 2015

Well, it turns out that that owner was Noel Parsons, an account director at Freuds. This week one of his colleagues at the agency got in touch to highlight that the video had received an enormous 14 million views on Facebook alone, and been covered in everything from the Daily Mirror to Fox News, via Mashable and The Huffington Post, across the world.

Flack can now reveal that it was all a devilishly clever PR stunt for... no, actually, it was just a video of a cute dog.


Tatt's generous

Feeling brave, Graeme Anthony from Manc Frank PR (the bearded gent pictured below left) decided to auction space on his arm for a tattoo, and donate proceeds to the Education for the Children charity. 

Tour.Media placed the winning bid of £320 and teased that it was looking for inspiration in public toilets. Would this end up being a cringeworthy mistake to rival the now infamous Henry the Hoover crotch tattoo (Flack can't bring himself to say more about this, but feel free to Google it... or use your imagination)?

With every passing tweet from Tour.Media, it looked like it was devising a dastardly plan. Luckily for Graeme, it was all a bit of top bants. The agency was a good sport and revealed it had commissioned renowned local artist Kris Webb Tattooer to design a funky 'Street Bee'. The agency even added on another £100 because it was all for a good cause. Tatts off to them.

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