Politicians demonstrate some Bad PR when they discuss Pfizer and AstraZeneca
15th May 2014
Well hello my fine PR wonder-kids, Andy Barr back in the hot seat, refreshed after spending five days in the world of fleece jackets and squirrel bothering at Center Parcs.
So what have I missed? Obviously the great and good of the PR industry have been spilling their white wine spritzers in an effort to get as much distance from Button Mushroom (allegedly your honours) Clifford as possible, with PR grandees labelling him a publicist and the air kissing publicist brigade labelling him a PR. All we know for sure is that he was, and maybe still is, a sex pest, and he got away with it for a fair while. Surely this is the thing that both sectors should try and ensure never happens again rather than the bun fight over what he actually did for a living.
Bad PR of the week
Continuing on the bad PR front, it is a well-known fact that the current session of parliament is a bit short on substance given the parties have run out of things to debate, apart from the obvious of how can they all bring down Nige the Farage.
So imagine their delight when the Pfizer versus AstraZeneca situation kicked off. Never ones to miss a bit of political show-boating the CEOs of the respective companies were immediately hauled in front of a select committee enquiry of sorts. Also included was a union guy who looked and sounded so out of his depth that his PR team must have given up watching for fear of being seen to cry in public by the end of it.
Anyway, the politicians huffed and puffed away, making their usual snide remarks and firing off sound bites for the gladly awaiting media. The Pfizer man made it very clear that he was not going to give anything away that may show his hand to their rivals and Team AstraZeneca just kind of sat there menacingly, emitting the kind of fear-inducing calm that only the French can carry off by simply staring right at you. Needless to say, nothing of note was accomplished and I always benchmark a live-event story by how long it takes Sky News to get bored and what breaking news they transfer to in order to get away. In this case, it was Beyonce’s sister kicking the shizzle out of Jay-Z. Seamless switching from Kay Burley’s mob.
Once that was done, everyone’s favourite Business Grandad, Vince Cable, shuffled into the hot seat and opened with a five-minute mumble about how he was probably not going to be able to say much because the Pfizer versus Astra deal negotiations were ongoing. Cue a witty reply from the chair of the toothless panel and the crowd was in the kind of stitches that employees have to make when a boss makes a piss poor joke (my team suffer this A LOT).
Good PR of the week
Apple gets Beats
Moving on to something far more positive, the tech and music world got itself into pant-wetting territory over the Apple buying Beats by Dr Dre headphone company story for a silly amount of money. Half of the industry (myself included) shouted “What?” and labelled it as Apple simply trying to buy being cool because of the stall in its own product development, and the other half pointed out that it was just so that Apple could get its hands on the music streaming service and technology that Beats has been developing.
Either way, it came from nowhere and dominated the news media for a good few days as more and more analysts came along and gave their thoughts on why this happened. The general consensus from those in the know is that Apple has over paid for a not-as-high-quality-as-it-makes-out headphones company with a nice brand behind it. As for the streaming side of things, iTunes is not making as much money as it once was so this makes sense. Maybe it is Spotify that should be worried, but surely it has got the market cornered and no one could overtake it now?
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