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The communications briefing: Commercial radio in the UK reports record-breaking audience figures

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media


Biggest ever audience for commercial radio
New figures from RAJAR showed commercial radio in the UK has reported its highest ever audience of 36.1m listeners for the first quarter of 2019. There are now 1.7m more people listening to commercial radio stations than the BBC radio networks combined, its biggest ever lead over the corporation. The figures also found that 66% of the population listen to commercial radio stations each week and 89% to radio overall. Total listening hours for commercial radio remain strong, up 1.6 per cent year-on-year, driven largely by the growth of national stations and brands.
More About Advertising

Comscore to lose one in ten staff
Media-measurement company Comscore is to reduce its workforce by 10%, or around 180 people, following disappointing first-quarter earnings. The cuts are to be made through a combination of layoffs and eliminating empty positions. "We have identified and implemented actions this week that we believe will result in a better customer experience, improved organizational efficiency, and resources that are better aligned with business needs,” said Comscore interim chief executive Dale Fuller.
Wall Street Journal

Hotwire announces Precinct integration
Global communications agency Hotwire announced this week that Australia-based sister agency Precinct will be merging into the business under the Hotwire brand from July. The announcement comes as Hotwire continues to expand, with CEO Barbara Bates saying the firm is "proud to be welcoming... the Precinct team."
AP News

Rudd moves in on WPP's Finsbury
PR guru Roland Rudd reportedly approached advertising giant WPP to consider buying back Finsbury, which Rudd founded, for £100m. Whilst the offer is lower than expected and could leave WPP vulnerable to more agencies attempting to breakaway, Aimee Donnellan in Breaking Views speculated that Rudd "may be able to get away with a stingier offer as much of the company's value depends on his relationships," adding: "there's little to prevent [Rudd] from starting a new firm and luring Finsbury staff and clients after non-compete clauses expire.”
Breaking Views

360bespoke expands to London
New York media agency 360bespoke announced plans to open an office in London. The company, which offers PR, content development, media training and other services to clients mainly in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel markets, is expanding after three years in the business. Founder Jeremy Murphy said that the new office will aim at providing US representation to UK brands.


William Hill "friend zone" ad banned
A William Hill advert encouraging Tinder users to bet their way "out of the friend zone" has been banned for breaching advertising regulations. The advert read: "Stuck in the friend zone? You won't be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer," with a link to download the William Hill app. ASA guidelines state that adverts for gambling must not "link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness."
The Guardian

De Niro gets flack for Warburtons bagel ad
Piers Morgan ridiculed Robert De Niro for being "reduced to making bread commercials," after the GoodFellas actor took on a new role as the face of Warburtons' bagels. The advert, which sees De Niro as a gangster bagel boss in Bolton, has been hailed by other critics as his "best work in years."
Daily Star The Guardian

Doris Day's lasting influence
After actress, singer and activist Doris Day died this week at 97 years old, AdAge looked over the continuing legacy of her music, which is "still featured in ad campaigns today." Renditions of Day's "Que Sera, Sera" featured in adverts for both Samsung and Squarespace this year alone, whilst Heineken used the singer's "Enjoy Yourself" in a 2017 Orchard Thieves cider advert and "Keep Smilin', Keep Laughin', Be Happy" recently featured in an advert for Orange.
Ad Age

Philip Morris suspends social campaign
Cigarette firm Philip Morris International suspended "all product-related digital influencer actions globally" after Reuters questioned the brand's use of young online influencers, including a 21 year old Russian woman, to sell a new "heated tobacco" product. The company's internal guidelines ban it from promoting tobacco products via youth-oriented celebrities or "models who are or appear to be under the age of 25." The company emphasised in its response to Reuters that "no laws were broken," but admitted to breaching its own "high standards."
The Jakarta Post

Reputational risk

Retailers use fake bumps in maternity shoots
Pregnant model Sylvia Flote criticised fashion companies such as ASOS and Boohoo for using non-pregnant models with fake bumps in photo shoots for maternity wear. She said “the majority” of maternity shoots are done using fake bumps, adding that most companies prefer “slimline faces and women who are slimmer in the body.” Asos and Boohoo both said this is done for health and safety reasons, as it can be exhausting for a pregnant model to be on their feet all day.
Daily Mail The Times

Prince Harry and Meghan criticised for friend "advert"
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were criticised by followers for "advertising" friend Taryn Toomey's luxury yoga retreats and exercise classes on their official Instagram. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posted a link to Toomey's page in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week alongside links to several charities, but many on Instagram termed the Royal couple's inclusion of a for-profit business owned by a personal friend on the list of promoted organisations "inappropriate".


No such thing as a free meal!
Several cast members of the Real Housewives of Cheshire have been criticised by a restauranteur for asking for a free meal. On Tuesday, Chis Laidler, the owner of independent wine bar and small plate restaurant Convino in Chester shared a screenshot on Twitter of an email he received from a member of ITV’s PR team. “Real Housewives of Cheshire stars Dawn Ward, Rachel Lugo and Perla will be in Chester later today and I was wondering whether you would be interested in offering a complimentary dinner and drinks in return for social media posts?” the email read. Laidler accused the reality stars of “abusing their position” to get free food and drink from small independent businesses like his own. “For the larger businesses, I do understand why they give away free stuff in exchange for promotion but for us, as a small independent business it leaves a bitter taste,” he added.
The Independent

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

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