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The communications briefing: PR lessons in what NOT to do from Boris

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 


Virgo Health expands senior team with new hires
Virgo Health hired four new starters following a series of significant business wins. Sarah Gordon, who won a Cannes Silver Lion in 2016, joined as an executive director; Erin Hamed arrived as a director from BCW; Farah Dalwai came to the company to strengthen the scientific services team; and Paul Andrews, newly-promoted as executive director of Creative Services, will continue to drive the growth of Virgo’s creative studio to bring clients a combination of specialist healthcare and bigger consumer agencies.
PM Live

Nader Nadernejad: ‘the man who makes media disappear’
The London Postprofiled Nader Nadernejad, owner of Nadernejad Media, a full-service digital marketing agency in Toronto. Mr Nadernejad, who claims to be able to “make media disappear”, says online reputation management (ORM) is one of the most important parts of digital marketing. “ORM helps people get their lives back. I’ve had clients cry tears of joy over the phone once they had a negative article removed that haunted them for several years.”
The London Post

Hopscotch lands on Sopexa deal
Paris-based communication consulting group Hopscotch is to acquire a majority stake in Sopexa, the PR agency behind Loire Valley Wines and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, adding 35.5% of the firm’s shares to its existing 30.5% holdings.


Big Ideas hired to ‘rig’ decision on Holocaust memorial site
The government was accused of rigging its campaign to build a £100m Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament. Thousands of positive comments about the scheme have been submitted to Westminster city council since Big Ideas was hired at a cost of £118,000 to the taxpayer to help with “public engagement”, significantly more than it received before May, when the firm began its work in earnest. The average number of supportive comments a day leapt from 1.15 to 122.74 since the public relations firm was engaged. Many were just a few words long. The Save Victoria Tower Gardens Campaign, representing local residents, said the government was “paying consultants to rig its own planning application”.
The Times

Is the Boris Johnson PR campaign faltering ahead of leadership vote?
The Guardian looked at Boris Johnson’s campaign to be elected leader of the Conservative Party, in the wake of revelations of a late-night row with his girlfriend, former director of communications at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, Carrie Symonds. The incident, coupled with what the paper described as a series of “distinctly shaky” interviews, has led one unnamed expert on media communications who had also worked alongside Mr Johnson in the past, to comment: “I think at this point that you might actually be a bit worried from a public relations point of view that your candidate is not quite singing the tune you need him to”. Labour peer and political strategist Lord Wood of Anfield said that Mr Johnson might have been better served with a campaign full of “bons mots and memorable phrases”, rather than one that has “tipped over into looking like he has nothing to say”.
The Guardian

Grisham named as White House press secretary
Stephanie Grisham was named as the new White House press secretary and communications director, replacing Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who announced her resignation earlier this month. Ms Grisham has worked with President Donald Trump since the beginning of his political career; following a brief stint as the deputy to former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, she has served as Melania Trump’s spokeswoman. Quartz looks back at Ms Grisham’s work with the First Lady, including the launch of her “Be Best” initiative, to encourage kindness, compassion and respect in children, and the fallout from Mrs Trump’s June 2018 visit to a Texas immigration detention centre, during which she wore a jacket with the words, “I don’t care, do you?” scrawled in large text on the back. 

Reputational Risk

Wayfair workers walk out over border camp sales
Employees at the US online retailer Wayfair walked out from its Boston headquarters, in protest at the company’s sale of furniture to migrant detention facilities. The move comes after Wayfair executives said they would fulfil an order for beds and other items for a detention centre in Carrizo Springs, Texas, operated by BCFS. Another Texas centre operated by the contractor, in Tornillo, was closed in January following “serious safety and health” concerns. The protest comes days after lawyers and doctors reported that children were being denied basic items including toothpaste and soap at a detention centre in Clint. “We’re walking out in protest of our leadership’s decision to sell to reprehensible concentration camps," an employee said. "We had hoped that raising awareness would be enough for them to do the right thing, but it wasn’t. We want to make it clear that this is not a political issue - it’s a humanitarian issue, and we will not back down.”
Washington Post   CNN Business

Cheesy ad faces ban
The Advertising Standards Agency said it has received 32 complaints about a Philadelphia Cream Cheese advert which portrays men as irresponsible fathers. The ad, first broadcast in early June, runs until the start of July. A spokesperson for the ASA said: “Complainants have challenged whether the ads break our new rule banning harmful gender stereotypes by implying that fathers are not capable of caring for babies as well as mothers”. The complaints follow the recent introduction of a rule by The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) to prevent sexist portrayals of men and women. It states that ads must not contain "gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence".
The Daily Telegraph

Scottish farmers to front major beef campaign
Four farmers have been announced as the faces for a new campaign which seeks to raise public awareness of the red meat industry's animal welfare and environmental credentials. Quality Meat Scotland’s Meat With Integrity initiative, due to launch on July 29th, will be fronted by Hazel McNee from Tealing; Joyce Campbell from Sutherland; Fraser Shaw from Lockerbie and Bruce McConachie who farms in the Cairngorms. Chairman Kate Rowell said the campaign “will highlight our industry’s world-renowned quality assurance schemes which cover the entire production process, including farms, hauliers, feed companies, auction markets and processors”.
Farming UK

Filmmaker devises gender-fluid commercial spec
Filmmaker Kellie Madison created a commercial spec that includes the highly underrepresented gender-fluid community. The current spec commercial is for an unnamed fragrance, but Madison hopes that the gap will be filled via an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign and provide visibility for an underserved audience. “Advertising has a profound influence on our subconscious minds and shapes societies perception of what is deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’”, she said. “Creating a commercial designed to promote gender and LGBTQ inclusivity could have an enormous impact on shifting global consciousness, paving the way for breaking gender stereotypes, hence decreasing stigma and hatred”.

And finally…

Pub owners baffled over Boris row links
The owners of the Camberwell Arms pub in South London said they are baffled at having been caught up in a row between Conservative Party leadership contender Boris Johnson and his girlfriend, former director of communications at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, Carrie Symonds. The pub had been reported as being owned by the people living in the same building as Ms Symonds, leading to negative reviews being left on Google by diners suggesting they were being eavesdropped on. However, the owners said they have no link to the neighbours who recorded and reported the argument. Ms Symonds, who was once named as the UK’s second most powerful public relations professional, now works at Bloomberg as PRO for its Vibrant Oceans programme. 
South London Press

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