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The communications briefing: Lord Saatchi quits board of M&C Saatchi

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 


Lord Saatchi quits board of M&C Saatchi
Maurice Saatchi stepped down as executive director of advertising agency M&C Saatchi with fellow board members Lord Dobbs, Sir Michael Peat and Lorna Tilbian also departing. The moves come after a split in the company over its direction a week after it admitted an accounting error discovered in the summer would cost 11.6m, rather than the 6.4m initially estimated. PwC was brought in to conduct a review and found the company had been wrongly bringing forward revenues for up to five years. Shares have fallen two-thirds since the accounting problems emerged.
The Daily Telegraph  City AM  Financial Times  The Guardian 

Dynamo and Clarity merge
Dynamo and Clarity have merged to create a major independent consumer and business tech PR consultancy. Dynamo Creative MD Peter Bowles said: “What drew us to Clarity is absolute alignment on our goals – that together we can create one of the best agencies in the world and, at the same time, create the best place to work.”
Dynamo PR 


#ProjectSunrise success in Qantas trials
Writing in Aerotime Hub, Rytis Beresnevicius commented on the PR success surrounding Qantas’ trials of ultra-long-range flights. Qantas’ Project Sunrise trialled flights between Sydney and New York and London which last around 19 hours. Media personalities were present on both flights, filming content and posting on social media with the hashtag #ProjectSunrise. The hashtag generated thousands of posts on Instagram, twitter and Facebook, and one YouTube video reached 1.7m views.
Aerotime Hub 

OnTheMarket plans post-Christmas campaign
Property portal OnTheMarket (OTM) is planning a five-week TV campaign beginning on Boxing Day, featuring its sing-along Chas & Dave inspired advert. The campaign will also integrate radio, online and London-based poster advertising in an effort to catch the surge of online house hunting that occurs after Christmas every year. The campaign will run to the end of January and is expected to reach 35.8m UK adults. OTM Commercial Director Helen Whiteley said: “We know that our multi-channel marketing approach is both effective in building brand awareness and efficient in generating traffic and leads so it’s very exciting to have our TV advert back on screens from Boxing Day when online property searches start to peak”.
The Negotiator 

Watchdog slams pub brand
The Advertising Standards Authority censured pub operator Blackrose over a series of Facebook adverts, with the watchdog claiming that the adverts encourage excessive drinking and imply that alcohol could cure shyness. One of the three advertisements used the text: “Do you suffer from shyness? Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive? Ask your bartender about our Fizz Friday Prosecco offer!” Another promoted a “bender till December” as an alternative to the sober October fundraising initiative. The watchdog said marketing was not allowed to promote heavy drinking or claim alcohol had therapeutic qualities, and that Blackrose had failed to respond to its investigation, criticising the company for its “apparent disregard” for the advertising code.
City AM 

Suicide ad blocked
A Facebook advert for life insurance has been banned for trivialising suicide and depression. The ad for DeadHappy included an image of a clearly distressed man with the caption: “Life insurance to die for.”
Daily Mail  

Reputational risk  

Papa John’s founder sues media agency over taped conversation
Ousted Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is suing media agency Laundry Service, and its parent company Wasserman Media, for secretly taping a conversation with him, and allegedly selectively leaking his comments to make it sound as if he backs the use of racist language. The lawsuit said that Casey Wasserman, head of Wasserman Media, created a campaign to discredit Mr Schnatter over a commercial dispute, telling Papa John’s then-chief executive he would “bury the founder” if Laundry Service was not paid $6m it said it was owed. In other news Rob Lynch, the pizza chain’s current CEO, has rejected recent comments from Mr Schnatter alleging that the firm has altered the way it makes its pies, and that they are not as good as they were when he was in charge. “Mr Schnatter is entitled to his opinion,” he continued. “We’re focused on doing the things that are going to move the business forward.”
Fox News  Bloomberg 

TikTok India aims to improve image
TikTok India has been trying to improve its reputation eight months after the company faced a temporary ban for the alleged promotion of child pornography. The mobile app has been promoting socially responsible hashtags and initiatives under the global “TikTok for Good” campaign, which aims to “inspire and encourage a new generation to have a positive impact on the planet”. In India the app has been partnering with social enterprises including UN Women India, Population Foundation of India, and Love Matters, using hashtags such as #EduTok, #CleanIndia, #SaveOurOceans, and #Skills4All. Founder and CEO of digital performance agency A&B Syed Mammon Hasan said that TikTok “wants policymakers to know that it is a serious company and a responsible social network” after “flying under the radar” of policymakers for a long time. 

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

Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace loses third director
Prince Andrew’s entrepreneur networking company has lost its third director in as many weeks, following the resignation of private investor David Stern. The move followed the departure of Mark Eaves and Hanadi Jabado, who left Pitch@Palace three days after the Duke of York’s Newsnight interview. A number of guests at Wednesday’s Pitch@Palace event said that although their perception of the event is slightly affected by the Duke’s involvement, they still believe in the organisation’s positive impact. Meanwhile, The York Minster Fund, of which Prince Andrew has been a patron for 15 years, said in a statement: “We have noted the coverage and the reaction to his recent interview. The matter will be discussed at the next trustees’ meeting, however at this stage we have no comment to make.”
The Times

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