Flack on Friday: Tamil Tigers press office, floating dino, GDPR nightmare, Iaincake

In Flack this week: The time a journalist was kidnapped by PRs, floating big thing down the Thames news, comic reflections on GDPR, and Iain Anderson - in cake form.

Tough PR gig…

Times journalist Tom Whipple (below) stirred up debate this week for his criticism of Amazon’s press office. "I used to deal with the Tamil Tiger press office, and they kidnapped me," Whipple revealed, adding: "Amazon are worse."

Strong words – you can read our take on the issue here

In a fascinating and illuminating email to PRWeek, Whipple elaborated on his experience with the press team of the Tamil Tigers, which, for the uninitiated, was a militant group that fought for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka.

"Yes, there was the minor issue of the kidnapping," the journo acknowledged. "But they were always pleasant, brought me tea, chatted about the cricket and once they’d verified my credentials, let me go. Despite being in a literal warzone, unlike Amazon they never treated me like an enemy combatant.

"Thank god Amazon press office also don’t have their own private militia... yet."

Flack has met members of Amazon’s press team over the years and can confirm that he was not kidnapped even once. He’s also not aware of them building an army of anything other than sophisticated communications professionals. But given the firm’s diversification into different sectors recently, who knows? (he’s joking – legal ed.)


Welcome to GDPR day, when the new data protection rules come into play. As if you needed reminding.

There have been numerous reflections on the changes in the run up to GD-Day; here are some of Flack favourites:

Music to your data regulation ears

Staying with GDPR, and Say Communications is marking the new regulations with the release of a GDPR playlist. It features series of (vaguely) related songs, including Regulate by Warren G., Age of Consent by New Order and Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. You can see the list here - enjoy.

PR stunt 65 million years in the making

Cliché haters, look away.

There was a bit of a hoo-ha this week after a dinosaur was spotted on a barge on the Thames as part of a promotion for the new Jurassic Park movie - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The stunt had its haters online, decrying the hackneyed nature of the ‘float it down the Thames’ trope.

Are they being too harsh? Flack will let you make up your own mind, although comms consultant John Brown was on hand with this handy guide that may help some decide if the criticism is valid:

The 30 Under 30's biggest fans

The annual release of PRWeek's 30 Under 30 list means the annual, inevitable teasing (or shows of jealousy) in which the new cohort's friend and colleagues show mock or real surprise at it being proved that they still have yet to hit the big 3-0.

Of course, as Ogilvy's Georgina Purdy will now know better than anyone on the list, you'll never be too old to have your mum be all embarrassing.

Another reason for fond ribbing of a 30U30 nominee is their former career. If you think that AxiCom's Maria Arbalova looks familiar from somewhere, it may be because the former stock photo model has, without you even knowing it, featured in a campaign you have run in the past.

Iain Anderson's faceful of cake

Finally, he may look like he could still enter the 30 Under 30 thanks to Sky News' make-up department, but Iain Anderson celebrated a half century this week. Do you want to see a picture of a picture of the Cicero supremo's face on a cake? Of course you do...

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