Philips backs down over World Cup ticket offer

Philips has been forced into an embarrassing climb down over its World Cup promotion in which journalists were offered a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to Germany in exchange for writing positive stories about the company.

As Campaign reported last week, the electronics giant was condemned by the publishing and PR industries for attempting to buy editorial coverage. In a letter sent to selected journalists in the UAE, Philips said that the trip to the World Cup in June could be won by whoever gave it the "best coverage".

The letter, from Philips Middle East and Africa PR manager Galia Rizk, was enclosedwith two press releases.

But the company, which last week refused to withdraw the offer, has now backed down, claiming it was subject to "misinterpretation".

A letter from the company's PR manger, which was faxed to journalists last Tuesday, said: "We at Philips have built a relationship with you, based on mutual respect, trust and honesty, which we are quite proud of and would like to continue and preserve as one of our key goals. We also hold the ethics and mandates of journalism in the highest regard, and anything that tarnishes our record for honesty and integrity is considered a serious issue. Therefore and in order to maintain our strong relationship we have decided to withdraw the offer that was made relating to 2006 FIFA World Cup from this point forward. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to continuing our excellent relationship and working together in the future."

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