Flack on Friday: On the can in Cannes, journo cutbacks, pounding from Poundland

In Flack this week: getting to the bottom of creativity in Cannes, cutbacks at news desks, and Poundland's sassy reply.

Not de-throned

Back to Cannes, and one agency not flushed with Lions success was Portugal's uppOut, the firm told Flack and others via a news release this week. One caveat, though: "We didn’t actually apply for one, so it makes sense."

Fair enough. But for Flack's Euros, UppOut was number one in the category of best agency stunt at Cannes.

Based on the premise that the toilet is where most big ideas come to fruition, the consultancy spent the duration of the festival taking photos of willing passersby on its bespoke lavatory, while handing out flyers with slogans such as "we do some creative shit".

UppOut said it achieved "the most valuable award we could have gotten out of Cannes: recognition".

"Some will remember us for our stickers, others will remember us for the boldness of bringing a toilet to Cannes and how it resonates with everyone getting awarded.

"Five days, 1,500 pictures and 8,000 stickers later, we’re still not sold on the idea of signing up for an expensive award and a chance to speak for 30 seconds on a stage with a small statue in hand. But we’re surely returning to Cannes."

Flack can't wait for stunt number two next year (enough of this crap - ed).

Are you experienced?

At PRWeek's Crisis Communications conference on Wednesday, ex-News of the World editor and PHA Group founder Phil Hall gave a slightly depressing anecdote about the impact of cutbacks on investigative reporting, post the Leveson inquiry into media ethics.

Hall, who told the audience that 110 criminals were jailed under his editorship at the News of the World - "everything from gun-running in the IRA to paedophilia to fraud" - contrasted this to the situation today.

He recalled how when "one of the most highly respected newspapers in this country" started to investigate an individual recently, journalists began calling people to see if any had 'dirt' on 'Mr X'.

"It was clear there were four reporters on this investigation, and it took a very short time to discover these were work experience people. None of them had any experience in journalism whatsoever. None of them had a shred of evidence, nor a shred of a story."

CIPR Awards fairground theme

The CIPR Excellence Awards took place this week and aside from the winners, Flack was mighty impressed by theme park and gambling theme that followed the awards presentation.

There was dodgem cars, a ferris wheel, fairground games and a host of casino favourites.

Taylor Herring was the big winner of the night, and you can check out the other winners here. Below is a selection of the snaps that caught Flack’s eye.

Keep giving

It seems like Flack is never off the roof terrace at Bankside 3 for very long these days as he returned to Omnicom's Southwark Street offices for the launch of Giving Tuesday with Porter Novelli.

Chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, Sir John Low, might not know who Cara Levine is, but his warm and humorous speech set the tone for the evening.

Later, Flack learned there might be an opening for a DJ at Porter Novelli’s summer party... watch this space.


Poundland's notoriously reactive social team rarely miss an opportunity to stir things up, so when local 'transport spokesman' David Redgewell described Bristol Temple Meads station as the 'Poundland of national rail stations', the bear was well-and-truly poked.

The high-street retailer responded with an open letter, delivered via Twitter, which urged Redgewell to 'think of an adjective that more properly describes the shambolic state of the rail network', or 'you'll find our lawyers act rather quicker than the 10.41 to Yate'.

Fans rallied behind the brand, national news coverage ensued and an unlikely online friendship developed with equally miffed Network Rail Western. Job done.

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