Flack on Friday: Lord Bell, Edelman, the Pope, Joe Wicks

In Flack this week: mobile phone madness with Lord Bell, mattress musings from Joe "The Body Coach" Wicks, and which PR agency boss was quizzed by the Pope?

Lord Bell's ruinous campaign

Even the great Flack is not immune to an embarrassing spelling mistake from tim to tim, but that doesn't mean that one can't take amusement from the typographical errors of other media. In a Mail Online story on James Henderson's resignation from Bell Pottinger, a caption of Lord Bell read: "Tim Bell was brought in to ruin the Tory Party's advertising campaign during the 1979 General Election."

The (presumably accidental) 'i' in 'ruin' was removed a couple of days later, but the very first sentence of the article still "Om a balmy June evening" remains.

(For PRWeek's younger readers; Thatcher won the 1979 election and remained in power until 1990 - despite Bell's alleged sabotage.)

Who gave Bell a bell?

Flack was impressed with the speed at which this spoof video of Lord Bell’s now infamous Newsnight interview from earlier this week was put together by The Poke. It reveals the identity (perhaps) of the individual who tried to contact the PR mogul on his phone during his difficult grilling by Kirsty Wark.

Sorry not sorry

Obviously, the ever-respectable Flack has never written anything remotely close to requiring an apology, so was dismayed to see the poor, upstanding Pan-Arabian Enquirer have to publicy say sort-of sorry to beleaguered Bell Pottinger this week: 

Shimon, meet Francis

A senior PR pro with a number of years at Bell Pottinger under his belt met a world-famous leader and guardian of morality this week. No, not Francis Ingham, but another individual who goes by the same name - the Pope.

The PR Office's founder Shimon Cohen, who was Bell Pottinger's CEO prior to setting up his own agency in 2004, sent back this snap of his meeting with his holiness.

Cohen was in Rome with a delegation with the Conference of European Rabbis in Rome last week. What did he and the Pope discuss? "The Pope is always interested in where you are from and why you’re there. So Shimon explained his role and that he was from Wales," a colleague of Cohen's explained.

A teacher, a Canadian and a TV extra walk into Edelman...

Edelman this week welcomed the first batch of recruits from its new non-graduate scheme, Edelman Beta. The agency had made the programme available as a way for anyone aged over 16, graduate or not, to get a job with the agency, with the hope of attracting a more diverse pool of talent. 

The ten 'betas', as Edelman is referring to them, came through a scavenger-hunt-style application process, the final part of which involved going to a park to dig up a box containing their contract. They were also asked questions such as 'which do you think has more storytelling potential: a flower shop or a funeral home?' and ‘If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?’.

These new recruits, who were whittled down from 2,000 applicants, includes two non-graduates, one individual who moved from Canada for the job, a former teacher, and a BBC extra. Oh, and someone who used to work for an automotive PR agency, which makes him diverse in this group, at least.

Wicks enflamed by silly endorsements

PRWeek spent an enjoyable hour with uber influencer Joe "The Body Coach" Wicks at his Richmond HQ recently, and got to hear the 31 year-old’s strong views on influencer marketing and where it may be heading.

Wicks was especially critical of some of the more crass brand endorsements undertaken by some social media stars of the more upstart variety. Paid-for plugs for teeth-whitening products and tanning cream, in particular, provoked his ire. And, um, mattresses.

"All these influencers holding mattresses," bemoaned Wicks. "Where did [the companies] get the money from and why are they paying influencers to hold mattresses?"

Nothing ‘springs’ to mind.

Say cheese

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; or alternatively, it’s absolutely not that, depending on whether you enjoy your social media feeds being cluttered with pictures of other peoples’ children looking uncomfortable in their new school uniforms.

Anyway… PR agency Beattie had no qualms embarrassing its team by posting adorable pictures of them as nippers to mark the annual tradition. Enjoy:

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