Alzheimer’s Disease International campaign highlights the reality of memory loss

Good PR of the week

Memorable work for Alzhiemer’s

An awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s Disease International (here on Facebook) asked people to “donate” their Facebook timelines in support of World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September.

By using a custom Facebook app, users were encouraged to experience how it feels to lose their memory for a day.

On the day, the app wiped everything from the user’s timeline. All that remained was a message that said:

“Imagine your life without memories. For 36 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease, this is reality.”

Everything went back to normal for users the day after.

As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s a shame this didn’t get more press. I can only imagine the iPhone 5 announcement didn’t help reach technology journalists this might have interested. The video, below, has still only had approximately 8,500 views, and a quick Google search for mentions hardly does the campaign justice. Great work, regardless.

Involved agency: Ogilvy Brussels

Bad PR of the week

MEC Global’s disgruntled ex

This week, a resignation email to end all resignations was posted online. It appears to have only been viewed 10,000 or so times, but everybody in the PPC (pay per click) sector, and marketing as a whole, seem to have seen an email from a man named Kieran Allen, who sticks the boot into employers, media agency MEC Global, and in particular, his manager.

Allen claims his manager is guilty of gross misconduct “on many levels” and by going public with it – whoever did post it up online – MEC Global has had to defend itself as media outlets have published stories about it. The Mail Online, The Sun and Campaign are the bigger ones I can see. The Sun focuses on the alleged “anti-Semitism” of the manager, while the Mail led with Allen’s accusation that the same manager had sex in the office with a female colleague – who had already Tweeted to say it was “just a snog“.

The Sun piece is now no longer online, though still visible in Google News – perhaps the legal team thought better of it – and the female colleague in question has now deleted a number of Tweets about it, including one stating that she’d been sent home. Had it not been for MEC’s public statement, this likely wouldn’t have made it in, as the veracity of the email seemed debatable, considering Allen can’t be found anywhere online, despite a hunt by Loaded Mag on Twitter.

Facebook fights fire

So, despite spokespeople from the company saying otherwise, were some people affected by this week’s alleged Facebook issue, where users were complaining private messages were being displayed on their timeline?

It’s hard to say. Facebook is certainly sticking to the line that the messages people were seeing were never, in fact, private messages and had always been wall posts. Twitter users I follow said different, but despite attempts by the BBC’s Dave Lee to encourage people to come forward with actual proof of the overlap, none was forthcoming.

In France, where the story first gained traction having appeared on the front page of free daily paper Metro, the government asked Facebook to explain the situation. Facebook replied, stating:

“A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline. Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users' profile pages.”

Katie Rogers, the social news editor of the Guardian made this interesting point, examining the way we use the network:

“This is more a story about psychology than privacy -- we have forgotten how much our experience of Facebook has changed in a short time.”

What is certain, and the reason it’s in Bad PR this week, is that internet users as a whole seem sceptical. A number of people Tweeted to say they’d deleted their Facebook accounts, while we’ve been told that Facebook's share price fell 9.1 per cent on the back of the fears, the biggest drop for a couple of months.

My amateur assessment is, as soon as you grow to the size of Facebook, you can do no right in many people’s eyes. Everything offends somebody and even if you vehemently state, as has been done, that there has been no breach, people will still disbelieve you. If Facebook knew about the issue and lied about it, though, that will no doubt soon come to light and the flak will be ten times worse.

Have you seen any good or bad PR?

Contact PR Rich Leigh with it by Tweeting him @GoodandBadPR or by emailing throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.

Good and Bad PR is a feature on the blog of 10 Yetis PR Agency.