Flack on Friday: Drama in Davos, smelling Fleish-y, Leeds badge botch

In Flack this week: Davos dilemma, the smell of agency cohesion, and telling it straight with brand storytelling.

Guests frozen out at Davos

Flack has heard a whisper of a certain international PR firm in Davos ending up with egg on its face. The agency only realised at the start of its World Economic Forum fringe event that the hotel it had booked for its Eastern European banking client’s big presentation was inside the 'hotel pass only' cordon.

The result? Invited guests aplenty were turned away by gruff security guards for not holding the right accreditation. Flack's sympathies: we've all been there (or thereabouts).

If this was you, and you'd like to 'fess up and write about it for PRWeek's My Biggest Gaffe, get in touch.

A whiff of Fleishman’s culture

Talking of chilly climes, PRWeek’s profile of FleishmanHillard Fishburn’s CEO and deputy CEO, Jim Donaldson and Ali Gee respectively, ends with Donaldson’s (regrettably) failed attempt to tee up his colleague for a punchline from the film Frozen. (It makes sense in context, honest.)

One thing that didn’t make the cut is Gee’s gentle teasing of Donaldson around the topic of agency culture. "Until this experience [the merger] I don’t think I had any idea how important culture or how important, excited, satisfied stimulated team members were. I think I thought it was all about the work and I still do, but one of the things I’ve learnt from Jim is the importance of culture," she explains.

Notwithstanding that, when Donaldson refers to culture by talking about "the smell of the place", Gee chuckles, and says: "It’s a bit weird, it’s a bit Jim, ‘the smell of the place’, that’s Jim-speak for the sense that we’re working for a winning agency. I’m not sure that I’d have given that much time to that sort of thing three, four, five or six years ago."

If you’re a FleishFish staffer and you see Gee or Donaldson strolling around the office having a good sniff, you now know why...


Badge consultation Leeds to questions

Readers will remember the news, covered in PRWeek and elsewhere with a tone of bemusement, that Leeds United FC’s newly unveiled badge had been pilloried.

The club said it had consulted with a total of 10,000 fans over six months. Fans thought otherwise. Stuart Baird, a (mainly) public sector PR practitioner for 25 years and a Leeds fan since 1974, told Flack: "Most Leeds fans are fairly obsessive and personally I put #lufc into Twitter on at least a daily basis and have not seen any of the main Leeds correspondents, bloggers, commentators or my network talk about this crest until it launched."

Baird said the same was true of another season-ticket-holding friend, who visits the club’s website daily, and of his uncle, who has run the local supporters club in the family's hometown of South Kirkby for over 40 years.

PRWeek asked the club whether Baird should have gone to Specsavers, but was told he and his comrades were wrong; the consultation had happened, in the form of an eight-question form on SurveyMonkey sent out by a design agency, which mentioned "iconic symbols" once but didn’t refer directly to a change of badge.

Leeds will be consulting fans again. Flack wishes the club the best of luck.

Clean eating hard to stomach

Time now for botany, a topic Flack realises is woefully under-reported in this column.

Here, the botanist, author and speaker James Wong looks to sow a seed of doubt about influencers.

Taking sponsorship too VAR?

How’s this for an innovative sport sponsorship?

Patient Claim Line, a sub brand of law firm Fletchers Solicitors that deals with medical negligence cases, is putting its hands in its pockets to sponsor video referee replays for the Rugby Super League. As you may have heard, the technology has caused controversy recently following its adoption in football.

It’s part of the firm’s wider marketing and PR campaign, "Know for sure, know for free". The activity sees a spinning wheel appear on the video referee screen to show whether a try has been awarded, to build suspense before revealing the referee’s decision. Currently, the decision is broadcast on the big screen using text only.

Flack is all up for innovation, and is looking forward to seeing how this one pans out.

Creative inspiration

Talking of innovation, and fresh from hosting the third annual Creative Shootout, Launch PR founder Johnny Pitt is at it again, showing his dedication to creativity as his agency launched what is billed as the first ever guided ‘creative tour’ of Soho.

Called The Creative Crawl, (Soho-based) Launch has partnered with Blue Badge Guide and former City of London Corporation comms chief Greg Williams to create the 45-minute, whistle-stop creative tour of W1 - covering the haunts of icons such as David Bowie, Karl Marx, Dylan Thomas and Vivienne Westwood.

The cost? £450 for a group of four (or free to clients).

Once upon an integrated branding solution

Not much more needs to be added to this gem that Flack stumbled across from a creative director at Australian health insurer Wellmark. Enjoy:

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