The PR business has largely advised institutions to ignore or denounce the seismic shift in public opinion that led the USA to Trump and the UK to Brexit. Myopically, many PR advisers have urged clients to strengthen their commitment to the very agendas that sparked the mass public backlash. Yet new times call for new ideas. Here I examine some of the underlying issues. I also suggest some alternative approaches to today's increasingly ineffective corporate PR strategies, mantras and fads. More »

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Categories: Culture Wars / Media issues / Political spin / Reviews

21 May 2018

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Media’s lost art of public debate keeps Trump in power

In his just published book Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth, Howard Kurtz, a former Washington Post columnist, explores how the media became the ‘opposition party’ to an unlikely President. It delivers a compelling account of how,  by refusing to engage in proper debate and resorting instead to insults and fear-mongering, the fourth estate betrayed its historic mission to hold power accountable to the public. He warns that the media’s failure to grapple with the major issues of the day risks damaging their reputation to such an extent that it may never recover. Read on ›

Categories: History of PR / Media issues / Trust and reputations

18 May 2018

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How social media became toxic

Do you remember the advent of social media when they were praised for being disruptive, positive innovations? The talk was of long tails, wisdom of crowds, the end of old-fashioned business models (dead tree press is dead) or statements like the new world is bottom up – or flat – rather than top down. Now they are being discussed by the same enthusiasts as if they were managed by oligarchical villains selling addictive, toxic products and lifestyles to an inert public that is blind to reason. But the commentators’ new-found pessimism is as misguided as their abandoned optimism. Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / Culture Wars

27 January 2018

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Say no to the PC mob: bring back darts’ sexy walk-on girls

Following the ‘scandal’ over the groping of girls at the Presidents Club’s reportedly debauched charity gala at the Dorchester Hotel in London, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has axed its leggy showgirls. To appease feminists and the PC brigade that hates darts, with or without its girly sex appeal, the PDC finally caved into requests to kiss goodbye to the pretty women who walk male darts stars on to the stage. Darts fans have been betrayed. Read on ›

Categories: Culture Wars / Opinion research / Trust and reputations

17 December 2017

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Give a big fat no to the concept of unconscious bias

Apple’s first-ever vice president of diversity and inclusion, Denise Young Smith, had the audacity to suggest that being a member of a minority group or a woman are not the only criteria for diversity. She went on the record stating that there can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation. Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / CSR reality check / PR issues / Trust and reputations

21 November 2017

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Lessons from Paperchase’s retreat: corporate cowardice predates social media

A few thousand tabloid-loathing Stop Funding Hate campaigners, exercising their wrist action on Twitter and Facebook, have persuaded Paperchase to abandon an advertising promotion, which offered readers of The Daily Mail two free sheets of Christmas wrapping paper. What should the advertising and PR community make of this debacle? Read on ›

Categories: Zurich

10 September 2017

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What Is Time?

On Thursday evening this week I am pleased to be one of the organizers of the Zurich Salon’s What is Time? discussion at the Karl der Grosse in Zurich, Switzerland. Featuring Raymond Tallis, Guido D’Amico, Norman Sieroka and Angus Kennedy, Read on ›