Flack on Friday: Radio rage, water good photobomb, chocolate joy

In Flack this week: Industry spinning over radio show, digital detox at Frank, choccy new year, and photobomb masterclass.

Pompous PR

The Media Show’s episode about the Art of PR certainly ruffled a few feathers this week. The weekly Radio 4 programme – primarily targeted to journos – invited three flacks and a hack to discuss public (read: media) relations.

Leaders from the PRCA and CIPR were not happy with the narrow focus of the debate, slamming it as "shockingly inaccurate", "wholly unfair" and "naive".

Fair enough, although the BBC did invite three PR pros to define what PR is to them at the top of the show, with one suggesting it’s about "getting positive coverage on the airwaves".

After PRWeek broke the article on Tuesday morning, the debate continued to rage on Twitter through the day and into Wednesday. When one professional suggested the response may be somewhat of an over-reaction, CIPR president Emma Leech wasn’t having a bar of it.

The PRCA’s Francis Ingham was quick to get in on the act, pointing out that "all of the industry IS ethical and professional"... erm, well maybe after Bell Pottinger, Flack assumes.

Perhaps one of the best calls, unwittingly, came from Andy Turner - who threw in the "p" word when few expected it. This had the unintended consequence of leaving Leech in digital stitches.

While Flack enjoyed the passion from both sides in this debate, this gossip column was somewhat puzzled why nobody kicked a stink about how one panellists described journalists as "lazy" and relying on PR to do their jobs.

Flack wonders if perhaps journalists listening to a show for journalists are a bit more thick skinned.


Everyone who watched the Golden Globes on Sunday night will have noticed the real star of the show was, of course, 'Fiji water girl' Kelleth Cuthbert, who managed to photobomb most of the A Listers being papped on the red carpet.

It all went viral on social media, both #FijiWaterGirl and #FijiWaterWoman were trending on Twitter, and Cuthbert was covered in outlets including CNN, HuffPost, Fortune, Time, BuzzFeed and The Daily Mail, as well as appearing on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

This brilliant bit of – albeit unplanned – PR will have alerted agencies the world over, and Flack wonders who will be popping up behind movie stars at the Oscars next month, and carrying what. Fingers crossed for Piers Morgan, with a tray of Greggs vegan sausage rolls… 

Choccy New Year

We’ve (almost) done it – completed our first full week of work after the festive jollities. Pats on the back all round. Flack was impressed with this ‘welcome back’ gift to the communications dept at construction firm Laing O’Rourke this week (although there’s a chance that one or two New Year Resolutions went to pot a little early).

Gaming the smartphone detox diet

Here at PRWeek Towers, we heartily approve of PR agency Frank’s initiative to entice staff to use their work smartphones less, or at least more consciously, using a new app (ironically) to reward them for not reaching for the screen every five seconds minutes.

The social ills of smartphones are well documented in the decade or more that this pernicious technology has become increasingly ubiquitous; from sleep-deprivation and depression to, ahem, less fun between the sheets.

Personally, Flack is an ardent supporter of the carrier-pigeon, smoke-signals and even the humble dumb-phone for all his communication needs. One knotty question remains, though: what’s to stop the most smartphone-addicted among the agency’s employees from gaming the system by putting down their work phones for hours, while bingeing on social media using their personal devices?

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