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The communications briefing: Government spends £25k on six-second Brexit ad on Snapchat

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 


Government spends £25k on six-second Brexit ad on Snapchat
The UK government spent £25,300 on a single Snapchat advert promoting its "Get Ready For Brexit" campaign. According to Snapchat, the six-second ad, created by Manning Gottlieb OMD, received 3.05m impressions. Digital strategist Rob Blackie questioned whether the government was getting value for money on Snapchat, adding: "Most of the people you want to do things to get ready for Brexit are people in senior positions, who typically aren't in their late teens or early 20s”, the age of the typical Snapchat user. A Government spokesperson said: "The “Get Ready for Brexit” campaign has been designed to reach every adult in the country, so it is right we target a broad range of audiences to get people and businesses ready."
Sky News

Calls for tighter legislation on social media ads in elections
Leighton Andrews, a former Welsh government minister, professor of practice in public service leadership and innovation at Cardiff Business School, and the author of Facebook, the Media and Democracy, said it is imperative that legislation on social media advertising in elections is introduced as soon as possible, to improve fairness and transparency. Candidates and parties currently have to account for social media spending, but the content is largely unregulated except by social media platforms’ own rules. Mr Andrews noted that Facebook is now compelling political advertisers to have their advertisements pre-authorised, so that identity and location can be confirmed, making advertising more transparent by publishing who has paid for it, and ensuring that ads being run from Facebook pages are visible to all through an archive.
New Statesman

David Cameron: The rise of the PR Prime Minister
In the week that David Cameron’s memoir For the Record is published, Anthony Barnett looked at his post-Oxford University rise – from the Conservative Party’s research department and his seven-year stint at Carlton Communications, to his career as an MP, which ended in his becoming Prime Minister by the age of 43. Mr Barnett said that Mr Cameron’s PR expertise “allowed him to internalise” the language and strategies previously employed by Tony Blair on his own way to No. 10 Downing Street.
Open Democracy


Should charities still employ shock advertising?
A group of 800 academics, healthcare professionals and advocates recently signed a letter objecting to an advertising campaign by Cancer Research UK, arguing that the ads - mocked-up cigarette packets with "obesity" splashed on the label – unfairly compared smoking with obesity, stigmatising people who are overweight. It was the second time in the past year that CRUK has run a controversial campaign about obesity’s links to cancer. In light of the campaign, which also generated significant online criticism, Third Sector’s Liam Kaye investigated whether such shock tactics still have a place in the charity sector. Reuben Turner, executive creative director at Good Agency, believes that controversial advertising can be effective in grabbing people’s attention and generating a short-term boost in support, but he warned that the content has to be seen as coming from a place of truth. Save the Children’s Most Shocking Second A Day campaign, which highlighted the refugee crisis in Syria through the gaze of a British child, is offered as a successful deployment of shock tactics to help the public build a personal link to a civil war happening thousands of miles away. Nick Pride, fundraising strategy director at the marketing firm WPNC, said that if controversial tactics are to work they need to fit within a charity’s brand. "It is legitimate for a charity with a very clear mission to take on very significant problems and challenges they need to find ways to solve, and to help start changing the way society is thinking," he said. "That can create controversy, but it’s often how you need to start a conversation."
Third Sector

Hong Kong struggles to hire PR firms to rebuild image
The Hong Kong government has tried but failed to secure help from any of the global public relations firms it has approached to manage the financial hub’s reputation amid ongoing pro-democracy, anti-government protests. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said eight global PR companies were approached to help it relaunch Hong Kong; four “immediately declined because that would be a detriment to their reputation to support the Hong Kong government now”, she explained, with the other four invited to a briefing with city authorities, but rejecting the chance to bid for the contract. "At one point in time, we did have that idea of approaching some international PR firms to provide some advice", Ms Lam told a press conference on Tuesday. "The advice we have been given is the time is not right, because we are still in this sort of social unrest, disturbance and violent acts and vandalism on such a regular basis. It would perhaps not be the most cost-effective way to use the government resources to launch any campaign to rebuild Hong Kong's reputation”.
BBC News  The Guardian

Apple’s head of PR to step down
Apple’s VP of communications and head of PR Steve Dowling is to leave the company. Mr Dowling, who has worked at Apple for 16 years and been in his role since 2014, has been responsible for the firm’s messaging to the press, iPhone launch events and internal communications for much of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s tenure. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller will take on Dowling’s role.

LeKiosk appoints firms to run media strategy in France and UK
LeKiosk, an information platform offering users access to more than 1,600 media titles, has appointed Spark-Agency and Bijou PR to oversee its communication strategy in France and the UK respectively. The core objective is to position LeKiosk as a thought leader in digital news and magazines in both countries.

Reputational risk

Kirstie Allsopp slams Twitter over 'scam' ads
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp said she's been the victim of a scam which has seen her face used to promote slimming pills on Twitter. Promoted tweets from an organisation called Gonagram used a false story claiming the presenter has been sacked by Channel 4. Clicking on links then leads readers to a promotion for a weight-loss product. In one case, a mocked-up article from the Sun says the property expert dropped from size 16 to size 8 with the help of a celebrity weight-loss method and that Channel 4 sacked her because she had not revealed her links with the firm behind the product. The newspaper has confirmed that the story is false and its lawyers are contacting Twitter about the use of its logo without permission.
BBC News

Boots accused of racism
Boots has been accused of racism after putting security tags on hair products for black customers while ones for white customers were untagged. Make-up artist Natasha Wright was shocked to see the anti-theft devices in one store. In a video, she said: “Boots, what are you trying to say? If you think we're going to be coming into your store stealing, don't bother to stock it.” In response, a spokesperson for Boots said: “To prevent theft our colleagues add security tags to the products they believe are being stolen. They do this regardless of what the product is, the cost of it, or which aisle they are on.”
The Sun

Trudeau in 'brownface' yearbook photo
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologised for wearing "brownface" make up at a private school gala nearly two decades ago. The 2001 yearbook picture obtained by Time Magazine shows Trudeau with skin-darkening make-up on his face and hands at the West Point Grey Academy. Addressing the image, Mr Trudeau said he "deeply regretted" his actions and "should have known better". The PM is battling for re-election on 21 October.


How Missing People is using digital outdoor advertising
The charity Missing People is to use digital outdoor billboards to boost the regional reach of its appeals a week after announcing its link up with an online travel industry network. The digital out of home (OOH) advertising campaign will feature on roadside and city centre locations and detail the missing person’s name, age, photo and the date and location when they went missing. It also features a free number for people to call or text; it has been organised by digital OOH advertising specialist QDOT, which is also using the measurement platform PlayTrack to evaluate the campaign. The weekly Missing People appeals will be used by digital OOH media firms including JCDecaux, Maxx Media, Limited Space and Perfect Fit Media.
Charity Digital News

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