THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Who benefits most from a prank, the perpetrator or the victim?

Recently Bill Gates received a custard pie in the face and John Prescott was drenched with water

Recently Bill Gates received a custard pie in the face and John

Prescott was drenched with water

Simon Milton


’It’s always the victim that comes off best in the end. If you remember

when Brian Mawhinney got paint thrown over him, it was about the only

thing that made him look like a sympathetic character. But no one

remembers who did it or why. I wouldn’t use a prank - I’d be too scared

that someone would do it to me. It’s a one-minute headline and it’s

quickly forgotten. Attempting to humiliate someone is not a tactic we

should have in our toolboxes.’

Roger Gale

Conservative MP

’It depends on how it’s handled. Prescott handled it badly initially

because he was cross and he showed he was cross. He came across as surly

and bad tempered. Had he laughed it off, everybody would have said ’oh,

jolly old John’. But I don’t condone it. It’s very difficult to have a

wonderful sense of humour when you’ve just been soaked with icy


Denise Lewis


’It’s clear that rightly or wrongly there is a place for this kind of

story in the British media. So in many respects it can be very

successful in raising awareness of a brand. The downside is that you

have limited control over how the story develops. That’s a risk some are

prepared to take. But no one benefits if it goes wrong.’

Peter Wilson

Luther Pendragon

’I remember the days when a proper anarchist would throw molotov

cocktails, not buckets of water. Standards are really slipping. Groucho

Marxism isn’t that impressive and pranks aren’t that funny. There’s an

awful sort of zany Noel Edmonds/Dave Lee Travis quality about them, and

Mr Nobacon’s only difference is that he doesn’t, yet, have a beard and a

jumper. So avoid pranks at all costs, and react to them with icy


Jonathan Simnett

Brodeur A Plus

’It depends how the prank is taken. If it’s taken in good humour then it

can only benefit the person on whom it is perpetrated. However it is

clear that pranks are only a legitimate marketing device in the consumer

area. For the majority of corporate clients, who may be selling products

or services on which large corporations or institutions depend, then

pranks are clearly not appropriate as a marketing device.’

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