PR Access denied to M&C Saatchi

Sydney PR agency Open Dialogue – now remonickered as Access PR – has severed ties with M&C Saatchi, which had an 80% stake in the boutique PR firm – named B&T’s PR Agency of the Year in 2007. Reports say all of the firm’s 31 clients and staff have jumped ship with the new agency which has changed name to Access Public Relations after M&C Saatchi barred Rochelle Burbury and fellow managing partner Andrea Kerekes from trading under the same name.


PR Disasters
It’s coming to another year’s end, so we’re now accepting media, blogger and public nominations for our annual Top 10 PR Disaster Awards. The scheme highlights the worst examples of bad PR jobs as well as corporate scandals and celebrity gaffes. ‘PR Disasters’ will collate entries right up until midnight on 31 December 2007, and announce the winner early in 2008. Nominations can be submitted by blogging in or emailing your suggestions.
As suggested in my PR disasters book (a great Xmas stocking filler) to qualify as a PR disaster, any incident must have catalysed sustained, negative media coverage.
And as any PR-disaster watcher will tell you, 2007 has been another sterling year for botched PR jobs on the corporate and celebrity fronts. Please send in your favourites, and to jog your memory, you might recall…
The Cartoon Network’s bomb scare marketing stunt;
British Airways’ fuel surcharge fiasco;
Johnson & Johnson’s decision to sue the Red Cross;
Movie pin-up Ralph Fiennes’ Qantas toilet tryst;
US radio broadcaster Don Imus and the ‘nappy-headed ho’s’ slur
Aussie AFL footballer Ben Cousins’ sorry drug-related escapades
Heather Mills McCartney’s sometimes bizarre conduct under stress
There was also:
Fleishman Hillard – the PR specialists saw two of its ex-execs jailed for overbilling
Dr Pepper – a product promotion almost caused the exhumation of an historic graveyard
Ribena – had its vitamin C product claims debunked by two teenage science students
Whole Foods – their blogging CEO praised himself using a fake online identity
BBC – revelations that the UK broadcaster faked results of viewer phone-in competitions
FEMA – had its staff pretend to be news reporters at a badly attended press conference

Aussie PR disasters soon on TV

My good pal and PR colleague Geoff Barbaro is eagerly awaiting the new series of ABC TV’s Media Watch, as bad public relations as well as bad journalism will be targeted next year, according to the program’s new host. Jonathan Holmes, a veteran reporter with ABC TV’s Four Corners, said he
hoped to “expose the more egregious antics of the (PR) industry that all too often tries to sway, or mislead, or simply stonewall journalists who are trying to do an honest job“. He said the public relations industry permeated government and business at every level and exerted undue “influence these days on what we read and hear and watch”.
Aussie PR’s – you have been warned!!

PRs disaster is that it's stuck in the past

barnum.gif Barnum was a PR guy, they say.

Progressive (technologically anyways) Stateside PR blogger Peter Himler says PR’s are stuck in the past:
“In a nutshell, the industry, including the largest independent, remains possessed, if not hunkered down by the practice of generating ink and airtime for clients. And it’s not necessarily the digital variety…Media “placements” still drive, if not validate our industry’s raison d’etre. They produce industry awards. Clients crave (and pay handsomely for) them. And our success by-and-large continues to be measured by this age-old deliverable. Is it right? Does it jibe with the times? Is it changing? Is it changing fast enough? Does it even need to change?

McCusker welcomes new Bureaux offices in Noosa

I recently blogged on how I was enjoying my new Bureaux serviced office arrangement from a cost and quality viewpoint; tho I’m mostly based in Melbourne, I also have offices in Sydney and now on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, thanks to Bureaux’s recent business agreement. So now I can service clients in Queensland from offices I didn’t have to invest a cent in opening – thanks Bureaux!
(This is from their press release):
“Bureaux, has extended its network of affordable on-demand office facilities to Queensland by partnering with Sunshine Coast serviced-office provider, Noosa Boardroom. The deal enables both businesses to deepen the value they can offer their customers by providing reciprocal access to an eastcoast network of business facilities and cost effective office accommodations to support the needs of business travellers and SOHO workers. Ian Trevallion, Managing Director, Bureaux Business Clubs said Continue reading

George Bush – $250m worth of PR disasters says academic

bush.jpg You betcha my PR machine is well-oiled.

George Dubya Bush’s term has seen $250 million spent on PR services – yet the net result has been extremely injurious to the PR industry’s reputation, says AdWeek’s Wendy Melillo (an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University). Somewhat romantically, Wendy wants the PR profession to come right out and say so…should Wendy expect the PRSA to denounce such tawdry tactics and profligate spending?? Continue reading

Strumpette signs off sabotaging a buncha PRs

From the Stumpette’s (allegedly) last blogpost:
“Steve Rubel, Geoff Livingston, Todd Defren, Robert French, Susan Getgood, Scott Baradell, Phil Gomes, Michael Krempasky, Richard Becker, Rick Murray… THEY are the face of PR today. And frankly, it’s a motley band of no-talent schmooze hucksters surreptitiously slinging refried common sense to a global room full of nitwit conference goers and pedestrian dupes.
Read more (or maybe less) at

PS; And what’s with all the bloggers throwing in the e-towel? Strumpette, Friendly Ghost, The World’s Leading…is it suggesting that the tide is turning away from the ‘sphere after they get their 15gigabytes o’ fame?

Spam PRs 'exposed and deleted' by Wired editor

Age.jpg Our man in the field, Age Conte, reports

Fellow football fan and sometimes Hernan Crespo lookalike Age Conte brings glad tidings (via Piers Fawkes) of another journo who’s had it up to here (visualise hand to strained neck) with PR companies who spam his inbox; take a bow Edelman and Weber Shandwick press agents, who really should know better.
Wired’s Chris Anderson actually lists all the offensive PRs here (are you on the list??) and says they’re not ever getting back into his good books – but apart from temporary embarrasment, how many will just change their email and keep preserving their publicity career, by demonstrating media outputs to clients, rather than genuine intellectual engagement with key influencers and stakeholders.
Here’s a bit of a Piers’ take (geddit, eh?) on the topic:
“PR agencies have worked day-by-day with papers and magazines for a long time now but when it comes to social media they seem to have forgotten everything they learned – out with relationship building and subtle plays and in with an ad-agency style tool: spam.”

Aussie Buchan hitches PR wagon to Waggener Edstrom

An ad in the other day’s Australian Financial Review trumpeted a ‘win-win’ alliance between global PRs Waggener Edstrom and the local (Melbourne) Buchan Consulting Group. The Buchan ad says that as a result of the exclusive alliance, it is now looking for fast growing consultancies (ie BYOClients) or sole practitioners interested in joining the new collective. I asked Tom Buchan to clarify a few points about the kind of people/organisations/skillsets needed, but he’s snowed under on a ‘big job’. Strangely, there’s no press release on the ‘bcg’ site talking about the alliance.
Tom Buchan has emailed back on the kinda people he’s keen to meet:
We are looking for the best communication operators around, either running their own smaller enterprises and exercising their ingenuity to the optimum, or running practice areas within larger consultancies.
Most likely these consultants/cies will be in Melbourne, Sydney, or Canberra (but may be based elsewhere).
Buchan is very strong in corporate, financial, reputation (communication) so ideally the person(s) will have complementary skills, or alternatively with specific (and highly strategic) industry-based
The WE connection is very important to us as we expand,giving us global muscle without compromising in any way our fiercely independent business. Our cultures are similar, both focusing on people (career development&training) and communication IP.