Flack on Friday: Creative minds thinking alike, x-rated cause, PR admits: 'I might be annoying'

In Flack this week: Creative Shootout results, PR admits he/she might be "terribly annoying", Merck confusion, Motherwell magic and who would be Labour's comms director?

Shooting stars

To BAFTA first, and Flack was in attendance at the third Creative Shootout, the annual event that sees some of the UK’s most creative teams battle it out to devise and present the best pitch for a chosen charity.

Teams from nine agencies had four hours to come up with a brief for drumming up volunteers for FareShare, a charity fighting hunger and food waste in the UK, then present their visions within 10 minutes to an audience and judging panel.

Flack felt more than a twinge of sympathy when the Clarion team revealed that their strapline - "Get Hangry", based on the slang term for being angry while hungry - was the same as that of Text100, which presented immediately before.

They weren’t the only ones – bespoke supermarkets appeared more than once, as did the focus on dieting.

Does this suggest a lack of originality among our sector? Or merely that great minds think alike? Flack is siding with the latter, given the breadth of creativity on show and lack of time.

The winning entry was Raw London – branded content agency, interestingly, rather than a PR shop. The team’s idea focused on encouraging people to share pictures of themselves as fruit.

Raw walked off with a trophy, £30,000 in agency fees and the £250,000 media prize fund to help stage the winning idea between May and September.

Second place was Ignis, whose campaign centred on getting student volunteers; and third was Mischief (a two-time winner), which focused on the giving volunteers "Bitecoins" for their work.

Well done, all.

Nice Merck if you can get it

The news that Golin has won work a corporate narrative brief with a German drug firm called Merck may come as a bit of a surprise to one director-level staffer at one of the agencies that had been gunning for the account.

Merck is a confusing one - or rather, a confusing two; there is a Merck KGaA based in Germany, which has just taken on Golin, and a separate company called Merck & Co, based in the US.

"I had actually thought I was pitching to the other one," admitted the baffled director.

No fowl play in WPIR vote

Staying with Golin, and congratulations to UK MD Bibi Hilton, who was named president of Women in PR on Thursday night.

Flack was struck by this tweet from now-ex president Mary Whenman on Thursday. Can’t help thinking this is a metaphor for something.

A job not appealing to the many

Credit must go to Politics Home editor Kevin Schofield for noticing this - Labour’s attempts to find a director of comms has thus far proved fruitless, it seems, with the deadline having been extended by two months.

Perhaps the prospect of working under brittle executive director of strategy and comms Seumas Milne does not appeal, Flack posits. Anyhow, the full job ad is here, for anyone interested…

Pitch imperfect

Flack now turns to the clichéd art of journalistic PR-bashing. Flack hopes you’ll humour this, we’ve blanked out the name of the offender and it should prove a decent example of how not to do it…

Dear [name removed]

I’ve emailed you a few times in regards to [client name removed] (the full pitch is below), the company [description of company removed]. I’m going to assume one of three things is happening:
• You’re super busy covering the news and haven’t had time to reply
• It’s not the right time, but you’re interested in staying updated on the [client name removed] progress.
• You find me terribly annoying and have no interest in the [client name]

If you’re busy or it’s not the right time, just let me know, and I’d be happy to follow up. If you think I’m terribly annoying, likewise, just let me know and I’ll stop pitching you future stories.

I look forward to your feedback.


On the plus side, the PR in question has realised they could be onto a losing battle. Small victories, eh...

'Well played

Now Flack has noticed a clear trend of football clubs unveiling new signings on social media in ever-more innovative ways recently.

This week, following the seemingly never-ending transfer saga that ended with Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez joining Man United, the Premier League behemoth unveiled their new asset in typically polished fashion:

However, big budgets aren't always the only way to get attention, as Scottish Premiership club Motherwell proved when they showcased new defender Peter Hartley with a cheeky parody of the Sanchez video. They even had the temerity to tweet United asking what they thought of it:

Motherwell's low-budget effort has to date achieved 2.4 million views and 35,000 retweets on Twitter, 450,000 views on Facebook and 50,000 on Instagram, as well as reams of print and online coverage.

X-rated campaign

Cause-led campaigns are very much en vogue for brands. But Flack didn’t see this coming.

An unusual email (somehow) made it through the firewall this week from an agency working on behalf of, umm, pornographic website Pornhub.

Entitled "F*ck Your Period: Because an orgasm a day keeps the idol away", the campaign aims to "disrupt the conventional thinking about how we speak about menstruation," the email, from Spanish agency Officer & Gentleman, explains.

Is this a sign of the times for cause marketing, or merely a headline-grabbing stunt? You decide - click here to view the video (Flack has been assured it is SFW).

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