The communications briefing: Accounting scandal deepens at M&C Saatchi

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 

Industry

A decade of Top Place to Work in PR for Ketchum
PR News ranked global communications consultancy Ketchum among the Top Places to Work in PR for the 10th year in a row. The firm was recognised for its educational, social and cultural programmes that aim to support the growth and success of its employees. The awards were given on 21 November at the Top Places to Work Awards Luncheon Ceremony in New York.
Street Insider

Two new hires at PR firm
Edinburgh PR firm Tailormade Media boosted its team with two new hires. Caroline Jack comes from the press relation’s team at the Home Office, and will be joining Tailormade as a writer and strategist. Sean McInally has been hired as social media manager. McInally previously worked as a videographer for BBC Scotland.
The Scotsman

Hollywood blockbusters boost UK cinema advertising
UK cinema advertising has seen a major boost from Hollywood blockbuster releases this year, and is expected to end the year on a high. So far this year seven films have taken more than $1bn at the box office, including Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4 and Joker, while Frozen 2 and upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are expected to join the $1bn group. Digital Cinema Media (DCM), which sells advertising for 80% of the movie market in the UK, predicts double digit growth in ad sales this year amid a major growth period in the cinema industry as a whole. GroupM has forecast that it will spend at least 200m on UK advertising this year. Pearl & Dean head of research and consumer insight Anna Cremin said: “Last year was such a good one that there has definitely been a halo effect for brands thinking about cinema, advertisers upping spend as well as attracting new or lapsed advertisers”.
The Guardian

Reputational risk

Accounting scandal deepens at M&C Saatchi
M&C Saatchihas admitted that an accounting scandal was much worse than previously thought and issued its second profit warning in less than three months. The group said that following an external review by PwC that identified the “misapplication of accounting policies,” it would be taking an 11.6m hit  – up from an initially reported figure of 6.4m stemming from internal investigations. The company would not rule out any potential additional charges. Chief executive David Kershaw said a “robust” review has been undertaken and the firm has, under its new group finance director, “started implementing processes and procedures to prevent such issues arising again.” The Times’ Ben Martin says the issue “is an embarrassment” for KPMG, which had been M&C Saatchi's auditor but tendered its resignation in September due to a clash over fees, while the paper’s Alistair Osborne notes that “M&C isn't blaming KPMG for its blooper.”
The Daily Telegraph The Times Financial Times  Daily Mail  The Guardian  Daily Express  The Sun  City AM

Campaigns

Ulrika Jonsson dating app ad rejected
TfL’s advertising agent Global rejected a Christmas advert for over-Fifties dating app Lumen, deeming it “offensive”. The advert featured newly-single Ulrika Jonsson wearing a red nightdress and stockings, with the tagline “Be my stocking filler”. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said the tagline is “likely to be considered problematic” and could “cause offense”. CAP also claimed it had the “potential of being seen to objectify women”. Lumen’s co-founder Charly Lester said: “It’s difficult to understand, considering that we’re constantly bombarded by highly sexualised images of people in their Twenties and Thirties, why we can’t have a fun and sexy advert featuring a beautiful 52-year-old woman.”
Evening Standard

Homelessness charity joins advertising
The first ever advertising campaign from homelessness charity WLM has been launched, aiming to highlight the human side of rough sleeping. The #NotWhoTHeyAre campaign, created as part of the partnership between WLM and AMV BBDO, features individual descriptions of people who may be sleeping rough in an effort to make people feel more connected to their stories. The campaign is live across WLM social media channels and will be featured across Marylebone Underground station during the first half of December.
Fundraising.co.uk

A Town called Asbestos
A Canadian town is planning a name change, as its current name of ‘Asbestos’ “does not have a good connotation – particularly in English-speaking circles”. Residents of the French-speaking town in Quebec, will submit new name suggestions along with the local authority. Mayor of Asbestos Hugues Grimard added "Since citizens are the ambassadors of a municipality and represent its vitality, it was obvious that the public would be involved in the process and the choice of the new name".
The Independent

Technology

Eight tech companies spent £25bn on ads
This year, 5% of all advertising spending across the world was accounted for by eight of the largest tech companies, spending 25bn between them. The eight firms – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google-parent Alphabet, eBay, Liberty Media, Uber and Booking.com – grew their market share by 1%, according to media analyst firm GroupM. GroupM predicts that spending in the UK advertising market will grow 8% to £22bn in 2019, with a 55% increase in spending in the UK over the past five years. The report also predicts the market will see 6.7% growth in 2020, and that the UK could become the world’s third largest advertising market, overtaking Japan, if its growth rate continues.
The Daily Telegraph

And finally…

‘Hot mic' moments that got leaders in hot water
In the wake of events at a Nato meeting earlier this week, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was recorded appearing to mock US President Donald Trump, BBC News looked at past famous “hot mic” moments involving politicians. It recalls the incident when, at the height of the Cold War, then-President Ronald Reagan joked at a soundcheck “I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”; France’s then-President Jacques Chirac disparaging British cooking on a trip to Russia in 2005; and the occasion in 2010 when then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was confronted by voter Gillian Duffy, who queried levels of immigration before later commenting, with a Sky News microphone still attached, that “She's just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it's just ridiculous."
BBC News

This briefing has been prepared by Early Morning Media.  If you are interested in a customised bespoke news briefing for you or your client across any vertical, please contact Charles.Webster@earlymorningmedia.co.uk