Diary: Marr reaches end of the Barclays line

Pity poor Barclays head of PR Ian Barber, who last week had the dubious pleasure of crossing swords with the BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr.

Marr, Barber tell us, called him at the Barclaycard press office last Wednesday after he had struggled to get through to the credit company's customer service line to sort out a problem with one of his wife's cards.

Our spies say that Marr, who was understandably unhappy after spending nearly an hour waiting to get through to a Barclays call centre, vented much of his frustration on Barber. But the ever diplomatic Barber insists Marr behaved 'impeccably' under the circumstances.

'Obviously he was not very happy, having struggled to get through, but he was not playing the big "I am",' Barber says. 'It is not unusual for journalists to call us when they are having problems getting through.'

Just think of all those hacks with a call centre axe to grind. Barclays and Barclaycard PROs must really love their jobs.

What's in a name? A lot of mistakes It is no secret that the mistakes found in press releases raise many a chuckle in newsrooms across the UK.

The really unlucky PROs have their documents sent to journalism schools to be presented to wannabe hacks as 'what they will be facing in the real world', (not that PRWeek practises such leaky behaviour).

But there were a few eyebrows raised when we were issued with a correction to a press release sent out by golf product manufacturer Powabyke. It informed us that its new golf scooter, 'Powaryda', should have read 'Powaglyda'.

Powabyke MD Nick Child claims: 'A couple of editors told us it made them feel a bit more human because they weren't the only ones to make mistakes.' Powaryda was actually the original name for the product, but Powabyke was forced to change it due to intellectual property rights.

'So I managed to confuse our PRO,' says Child. Quite.

Should Bowyer and Dyer drive Ladas?

Newcastle United FC have made valiant attempts to minimise the PR fallout of Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer's eye-catching punch-up in last Saturday's match against Aston Villa.

The players were both sent off and duly wheeled out at a press conference after the game, either side of red-faced manager Graeme Souness, to apologise to all and sundry - including the club's fans, embarrassed in extremis by the scrap.

The press conference (briefly interrupted as Souness was handed a mug of char by a tea-lady - an incident that amused Match of the Day 2 presenter Adrian Chiles the following evening) was at captain Alan Shearer's instigation, according to The Sun.

The paper had Shearer saying: 'It was my idea as soon as I got back into the dressing room to get the two players themselves to answer to the media.' Sound advice from the ex-England skipper, but do PROs in the Toon believe further PR salvation is needed for Bowyer and Dyer (the former of whom Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd has since hit with a club record fine of six weeks' wages)?

Indeed they do. Nick Brown, chief executive of NP - which has an office in the city - says: 'They should be made to drive Lada cars, rather than their flash cars, do community service in Newcastle's roughest areas and ditch the bling.'

He adds: 'Shearer and Souness handled the situation in the right way; they were right to hold an immediate press conference - but it would have been better if Dyer and Bowyer showed more remorse than they did. I live in Newcastle and I was appalled at what I saw.'

Media veteran Shearer would surely agree.

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