Flack on Friday: Guto's easy phrases, RSPCA calls in Hawking, Save the Content, a boring conference, Parliament hangs up

In Flack this week: Guto Harri gives us four easy phrases at PR360, RSPCA comms chief calls in Hawking, how Save the Children managed to save their content, Parliament hangs up on a big VAT question and more...

Guto Harri's easy phrases

The day after what will surely become known as 'Mugwump Day', BoJo's former aide Guto Harri brought a bit of a political edge to our PR360 event, as he chaired the first day.

"Having leapt off the cliff by voting Brexit, the British public seem to now be reaching for a reassuring parachute from the steely, studious vicar’s daughter – Theresa May," he said, going on to outline four qualities he felt the public was now prioritising.

"[Speaking as] a former journalist, spin-doctor and chaperone to Boris Johnson, the public these days seem to value: integrity over intellect, adventure over authority, promise over professionalism - and easy phrases over expertise and experience," he said, with a delightful irony.

Cruelty to comms pros

Also at PR360, RSPCA director of comms and external affairs Chris Wainwright said the animal charity recently trained 25 of its welfare inspectors to run a dedicated twitter account: @RSPCA_Frontline.

"They’re doing real-time content, really authentic, not polished, not out through the corporate filter," explained Wainwright. "I think that is going to be transformative for our brand."

On the issue of measurement and sentiment analysis, Wainwright was less positive. He described current tools as "hopelessly wrong", adding: "Some of the things we use are good but if you’ve got to be Stephen Hawking to understand them, frankly they’re best ignored."

Save the Content

We've all (hopefully) evolved our social media strategy over the years.

Save the Children global comms director Kirsten Walkom told PR360 that her employer’s early strategy was to use as many platforms as possible and "just send things out". The result was that at one point, the charity had an incredible 300 social media accounts - which were "poorly managed, not managed at all, or just spewing information that you can’t possibly digest". Thankfully they are now being streamlined. Phew.

The Boring Conference

Are you busy next Saturday? Flack's eyebrows were raised this week by a press note from Houston PR about London (un)spectacular The Boring Conference, an annual event devoted to the ordinary, the mundane and the everyday. Talks this year are on subjects including mid-20th century Danish public information films, model villages, bleach, music and knitting patterns co-authored by microbes and an on-stage ironing demonstration.

Don't you dare make a joke about it sounding better than PR360. It's not funny.


If the boring gig doesn't for whatever reason appeal, can we interest you in the first charity quiz being held on 16 May by City livery company The Company of PR Practitioners, for its charitable trust? Good fun, and a good cause.

Parliament hangs up on VAT question

Credit to accountancy firm RSM for noting, in its weekly tax newsletter, that the final scheduled debate of the parliament on Thursday was a debate on the cost of premium rate telephone calls to the Department for Work and Pensions. RSM said it would be likely to be cancelled, "no doublt as a result of time constraints and nothing to do with any VAT windfalll the Government receives from premium rate numbers".

It was, indeed, cancelled.

A Smart idea

There was further evidence this week of PR agencies fostering innovation, following the parent company of Bite, Lexis and Text100's launch of a £1.6m fund to help develop employees' ideas into "viable businesses, products or services".

Flack has now heard that Belfast-based Smarts has created what it calls the 'Smarts Labs' – which the agency calls "a dedicated space for individuals and teams within the agency to pursue creative ideas beyond the everyday pursuit of delivering big ideas for clients".

The first Smart Labs product is called Tuunio, a "social playlisting tool" that connects people’s social media feeds to their music streaming services, allowing them to build collaborative playlists with people from all around the world. Flack is intrigued to hear what comes next.

Flippin' heck

Finally, thanks to Ready10 founder David Fraser for helping PRWeek's marketing efforts this week and acquiring us a new reader. He gave Team GB trampoliner and Olympic medallist Bryony Page a copy of PRWeek at the launch of client Flip Out's new Brent Cross venue.

Time to appeal to PR pros' competitive nature - who is the best celeb you can snap with a copy of PRWeek?

(By the way, Bryony, that person on the cover has left that job now...)

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