The campaign to stop stock photogrpahy

It is the festive season; a time to give, and unfortunately receive that calendar or brochure with unblemished models.

Are companies afraid of images of their own staff, the staff their clients who are receiving the promotional stuff are going to meet?

It all looks so plastic.

I would rather see the people I know than think that a marketing manager has used so little imagination as to go to an online stock library.

Have a bit of fun this festive season, hire a professional photographer and take some more engaging images.

If you still cannot be bothered have the McDonald’s view of office life here.

How little we take in and how little we really have to say

I was at a networking meeting recently and as a festive treat the members had to impersonate other members.

This was meant as a fun exercise but one thing struck me how little information and understanding we all really pick up. You can know somebody and their organisation for weeks, months and even years and not really have an in-depth understanding. The person I had to take off I must admit that I knew not as much as I really should have about his enterprise despite a 10 minute presentation on what he did, which I did listen to.

This strikes me that of course we miss opportunities because having to take in so much information we often pigeon hole people or fill in the gaps in our knowledge with what think they do or offer.

It also occurred to me, as it has done before, that in an article or even press release how much is taken in by the reader. Probably not that much. It seems that there are two or three essential messages and the rest is often filler.

For example, if I represent a lawyer that is a specialist in employment law the ideal result is if the perception of the reader is that this practice handles the cases that are of concern to them or colleagues and associates and that they are likable, trustworthy and are the best in their field or pretty much up there and jockeying for that title. The fine details and everything else can be sold later.

Steve McLaren wins prestiguous award

Steve McClaren, has picked up the Plain English Campaign’s Foot in Mouth award in its annual ceremony.

Steve came up with this about Wayne Rooney: “He is inexperienced, but he’s experienced in terms of what he has been through.”

I feel this is unfair on Steve considering Virgin Trains response to Web User magazine about problems booking online:

“Moving forwards, we as Virgin Trains are looking to take ownership of the flow in question to apply our pricing structure, thus resulting in this journey search appearing in the new category-matrix format. The pricing of this particular flow is an issue going back to 1996 and it is not something that we can change until 2008 at the earliest. I hope this makes the situation clear.”

Previous winners include Naomi Campbell: “I love England, especially the food. There’s nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta.” Isn’t this just stupidity rather than bad English?

Rhodri Morgan in 2005 was well deserving: “”The only thing which isn’t up for grabs is no change and I think it’s fair to say, it’s all to play for, except for no change.”

More examples at the Plain English website.

Ricky Hatton does not need media training

Ricky Hatton has been brilliant in front of the media for quite a while.

However, this has to be my favourite in the run up to the big fight as he talked about his opponent’s trainer comments about him:

Roger Mayweather’s speech had made the “winter shorter.”

“I can’t believe the odds aren’t longer. I’m a little fat, beer drinking Englishman who’s fought no-one and been over-protected and fought a load of has-beens.”

“And yet the betting has been so close. Personally, I think you’ve got nothing to worry about Floyd. I think you will be alright.”

Come on Hitman.

Private investigators and John Darwin

I have just starting working with a private investigator and immediately the case of John Darwin, the canoeist with the missing memory came up.

Brilliant opportunity as my client investigates missing persons for lawyers and insurance companies and helps verify is someone is dead beyond reasonable doubt.

He undertakes much more besides: checking witness statements for criminal cases and tracking commercial debts amongst many services.

I have talked to one national about my client’s thoughts and supplied comments.

I am looking for journalists who will be looking at this case, as you know it can be hard getting the attention of a national at times, so I am using this blog as well.

A brief pitch:

My client has had 10 years of investigating such cases as missing persons in the UK and worldwide for lawyers and insurance companies. He also tracks people for a variety of reasons such as they have an inheritance and no one knows where they are, a distant relative perhaps.

His theory in the John Darwin case is that he is probably working with his wife on what looks like a scam to get the life insurance. It paid out a month or two ago. They fell out, she has the money and as he is legally dead he cannot challenge that! So, he shopped his wife to the police.

If this sounds like it might be of interest for editorial please call me on 07957611834

It’s a steal: PR and theft

Not one, but two big food and drink thefts happened in the last few days: Guinness had 40,000 pints stolen (although more than half was Carlsberg and Budweiser, which should be recycled into urine or is it the other way round?)

Anyway, the other major theft to hit the newspapers was the theft of 17.6 tonnes of ham and bacon, worth $88,000 Australian.

Owner Anthony Zammit stated: “”We’re working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and put on extra staff,” he said. “We won’t let anyone down.”

A reward of $4,200 Australian was offered.

Of course this is a big loss, but they are making the best of it. Surely, if they come through and fulfill their orders it will enhance their reputation as well as the profile being raised – it might bring in orders to offset the loses.

Over at Guinness:

Grainne Mackin spokesman of Diageo Ireland, owners of Guinness stated: “What could they want with all that beer?

Well, make £50,000 and possibly celebrate with a pint?

I think this is a tailor made PR opportunity, Anthony Zammit realises that, not sure about Guinness. Think of all the opportunities to capitalise for PR and advertising for Guinness!

Guinness lost £46,000, a smidgen when compared to their annual advertising budget. Why not be a little self-deprecating -Guinness the choice of every profession or they could not stand waiting for their Guinness so they just went to the brewery and went for it.

You get the idea, but something with a bit more polish. This is a brilliant opportunity of they go for it.

Manchester Evening News to run more business pages

How Do, a valuable source of media knowledge, has reported that the Manchester Evening News will be running more pages in response to Crain’s launching a weekly business magazine.

This is a positive development for all B2B PRs that do not have the bigger stage that B2C PRs enjoy.

With the new journalist joining the MEN business desk, who has an environmental background, will offer a another dimension to the stories they will be most amenable to, although the MEN has a small Green section each Tuesday.

Manchester online treasure

Every now again you come across a site or you might have heard of one without ever really exploring it

When you take a closer look you find something quite unique.

I was fortunate in the last week or so to talk to Aidan O’Rourke and Brian (sorry do not have your surname; not an impressive start) from Salford Online.

I have bumped into Aidan before but not really explored his site. When he showed me his website recently you cannot be anything but impressed: founded 10 years ago; over 4 years in the present format; and if my memory serves me well I believe there are 5,000 pages. Many of the photos (primarily) and copy have a Manchester theme but there are pages devoted to locations ranging from Dubai to Berlin, which, in the case of the latter, I looked at length. A really useful resource as a photo library for travel PRs – the images are impressive – or just to enjoy the images.

Salford Online is a newer venture but one that promises a lot. Lots of interesting copy and for PRs with Salford based clients or with news of interest to that area one that presents an opportunity.

My only criticism, and an easy one I hope to fix, is that when a section loads up it appears as though it is blank until you scroll down and see the wealth of stories.

I know they are very open to ideas and refining the site so this one is one to watch.

Oxford Union gifts far right a PR opportunity

That venerable and no down right stupid institution the Oxford Union has given far right racists and Holocaust deniers David Irving and Nick Griffin a stage.

Tonight sees them debate the right to free speech.

The invitation has been met with protests including that of MP Julian Lewis who has resigned his membership of the Union: “I think there are people confusing this with an issue of free speech. It’s not an issue of free speech to offer someone a privileged platform from a prestige organisation.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission of Equalities and Human Rights hit the mark with: “This is not a question of freedom of speech, this is a juvenile provocation.”

The debate, which is tonight, sees the two seasoned far right public speakers facing a couple of DPhil students and possibly a Liberal Democrat MP. They will show them hey. They shall not pass (with some regrettable irony).

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