Absolute Radio response to David Cameron's 'twatgate'

Absolute Radio uses Tory leader's remarks to boost its 'cheeky' reputation.

'Too many twits': Tory leader caught out
'Too many twits': Tory leader caught out

Absolute Radio's PR chief has told how the station's in-house press team swung into action within minutes of David Cameron's controversial 'twat' comment last week.

The Conservative Party leader made headlines after he used the word during a live interview with Absolute Radio host Christian O'Connell.

When O'Connell asked for his views on Twitter, the Tory leader said: 'The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it - too many twits might make a twat.'

Cameron later compounded the slip-up when he said people were 'pissed off - sorry, I cannot say that in the morning - angry with politicians'.

Absolute Radio head of communications Cat Macdonald told PRWeek that a proactive PR offensive started immediately: 'We hit the phones within three minutes. The vast majority of calls were outgoing to the press.'

The team first approached thelondonpaper, which had already expressed an interest in the interview before its airing.

The freesheet then ran the story on its front page under the headline: 'Cameron makes tw*t of himself.'

The interview was immediately transcribed and sent out to more print and broadcast journalists. Macdonald said: 'We didn't want the placement of "twat" and "pissed" to be taken out of context. We knew that they would be newsworthy but thought it was irresponsible to send out a release just featuring that so we gave the full story of the interview.'

Following the interview, the three-strong in-house team dealt with calls from journalists over a 48-hour period. 'We received hundreds of calls and there was blanket coverage of the incident for two days,' said Macdonald.

Macdonald was confident that 'twatgate' had worked in Absolute's favour. 'From an Absolute point of view it made us look mischievous and cheeky, which are our brand values.

'It also achieved all our objectives including making Christian O'Connell famous. It ticked every box about what we wanted to achieve,' she said.

The press team is now using the interview as a way of raising O'Connell's profile and has set up interviews with the Metro, Heat and London Lite.



I frequently swear like a trooper ... Why do I swear? I enjoy it, that's why. But I'm not thinking of running to be PM - Michael White, guardian.co.uk, 29 July

David Cameron deserves a good slapping for his puerile words ... When the leader of the Tories uses language like this, it not only demeans him but also undermines civilised standards in public life - David Hughes, Telegraph.co.uk, 29 July

David Cameron turned the air true blue as he tried to sound cool in a radio interview ... He was trying to win over younger voters, but his remarks sounded simply toe-curling - James Lyons, Daily Mirror, 30 July


11,413 - Conservative Party's Twitter followers

737 - Tory head of press Henry Macrory's Twitter followers

25,909 - Views the David Cameron interview got on YouTube and absoluteradio.co.uk

12 - National TV discussions the story provoked

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