Archive | December, 2011

“Their only celebrities”

14 Dec

“Celebrities, even insignificant ones like me, are created to be abused by the Great Unwashed.” (Poppy Z.¬†Brite)

Hopefully you will have recognised some themes running through these blogs… celebrities, ethics and values.

My previous blog addresses the issue of CSR and received a lot of interest (thanks!!!) surrounding Cause Related Marketing:

“A commercial activity by which a company with an image, product or service to market, builds a relationship with a ’cause’ or a number of ’causes’ for mutual benefit” (BITC, 2005)

For those of you who have not yet had time to read my previous blog ūüėČ it addresses my issues with CSR, and how I feel that it is continually being adopted by firms in order to publicize¬†themselves¬†in a positive light. So I hear you say what‚Äôs the difference¬†between¬†CSR, CRM and philanthropy then? For me there¬†isn’t¬†much of a difference, the only obvious being CSR reflects¬†society‚Äôs¬†expectations which equally lead to mutual benefits.

Celebrity Endorsements 

Take a look at just some of the celebrities who are endorsing the Viva Glam Aids Fund

Should celebrity endorsement of ‘good causes’ be classed as CSR or CRM? Is the celebrity involved because they are popular faces of whom we aspire to be? Or are they doing it because we expect them to pay an interest in¬†charitable¬†causes? Is it because they actually care?¬†I maybe wrong¬†but I¬†can’t¬†say that I have ever seen Missy Elliot or¬†Fergie¬†talking about aids in the past, therefore does this make them a¬†suitable¬†endorsement¬†or are they simply getting involved for the publicity and are MAC using them as they are recognised by mass audiences? I must admit the shoe fits this lady much better…

¬†As I have previously argued I believe that both CSR and CRM are about ‘results’ meaning a¬†win win¬†situation for both parties involved. Are celebrities using their ‘image’ to simply help the cause or are they doing it for money and¬†in turn¬†good publicity?

Children in need

Every year celebrities such as Fearne Cotton, Alesha Dickson, and Tess Daily accompany Sir Terry Wogan in presenting children in need. As reported by Steve Myall from the Daily Mail,  Sir Terry has been the leading face of the appeal for 26 years, however documents which were released under the freedom of information act  disclose that while his co-presenters give their time for free, Terry receives £1,300 an hour.

I¬†don’t¬†know about you but I have a feeling it maybe a result of him not doing anything else nowadays but surely he’s earned enough money throughout his career that he¬†doesn‚Äôt¬†need to steal from charity? Who am I to judge him, he might really care but to me he’s a prime example of the ‘bad bunch’ who abuse their¬†celebrity¬†image.

“The leader of the pack”

“Some say he’s the god of PR, some say he’d do anything for money, all we know is, he’s Max Clifford”

This guy is never far away from a celebrity crisis. What I still cannot get over is, we melt on his every word!¬†I’ll¬†give it to the kid, he’s great at what he does and a lot of the time¬†he’s¬†successful. But¬†there’s¬†something dodgy about you when you‚Äôre called in to help a murderer… We all heard about the murder trial of Anni¬†Hindocha¬†whose husband¬†Shirien¬†Dewani¬†is the lead suspect of her murder. Now to me nothing really screams guiltier when Max Clifford is suddenly brought onto the scene.¬†Why did¬†Dewani¬†need to¬†convince¬†the media and public he’s not guilty? Maybe he should have just concentrated on convincing the people actually involved in the trail, like the judge!!!

Bringing this back to values and ethics; will Max Clifford have still¬†represented¬†Shirien¬†Dewani¬†if he knew he was guilty? It appears to me that Max see’s no boundaries and at the end of the day he most values money.¬†surprisingly¬†this¬†doesn’t¬†bother me because everyone is different, however if someone could really benefit from his help would he be as inclined if they were a charity for example or would it be just for CSR?

The kids in this clip want ‘fame’ so they can use their image to help those less fortunate, yeah right!… they want to be famous for the freebies, the¬†popularity the lifestyle and money. These kids are still young but when will it get to the point where they will be willing do anything for their 15 minutes? Let‚Äôs take Jade Goody, she constantly had her media ups and downs but when she died she practically received the same reception as Princess Diana. Her death was followed by millions so she could leave enough money for her children, the problem was her ethics? Should her children have to grow up knowing everyone followed the most personal time of their¬†mum‚Äôs¬†life? The argument is, maybe she valued money and stability over self-respect.

Drawing in on a conclusion..

Hopefully my blogs have made you think outside of the box and question¬†people’s¬†motives, ethics and values. At the end of the day PR is about building and¬†maintaining¬†relationships which are mutually¬†beneficial. I therefore hope I have¬†successfully¬†addressed both sides of the argument from the PR professional and organisations point of view to the stakeholder‚Äôs point of view. I still believe that¬†people’s¬†values will continually change throughout their life, however I have come to¬†realise¬†that money is a value which everyone holds closest because we need it to live!


Is it about making a difference?

13 Dec

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” (Tom Brokaw)

What do you expect from those who can make a difference? Would it be morally wrong if large organisations were never to give back?

The topic on¬†today’s¬†agenda is Corporate Social¬†Responsibility (CSR). ¬†No doubt a topic you will have consciously never heard of, however something you will¬†definitely¬†be¬†accustomed¬†too.


“The policy and practice of a corporation‚Äôs social involvement over and
beyond its legal obligations for the benefit of the society at large”.¬†(Enderle¬†and Tavis, 1998)

Constantly we see large corporations such as Coca Cola doing their bit! The question is how much do they want to do? And what are the underlying reasons for doing it?

We constantly witness organisations who adopt CSR’s ranting and raving about them in an attempt to generate positive ¬†associations between them and their goodwill; ¬†meaning that these organisations have the ability to increase sales, suppliers, and stakeholders… However,¬†how long does the goodwill remain goodwill and not just a marketing ploy?¬†

Companies like Shell have¬†obvious moral¬†responsibilities¬†which are to ‘clean up’ and work to prevent any further problems, which I feel they undertake. Why are they then constantly attacked by the media?¬†¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love wildlife and I do not condone any kind of cruelty (like oil spills); however from what I have seen these oil companies don’t choose to spill oil, sometimes it just happens, maybe an effect of the high demand! ¬†At the end of the day I believe that these companies would always try their best to prevent further disasters, because¬†at the end of the day if for nothing else they are losing money! ¬†Is their¬†‘proactiveness’ though about CSR or money?

Let’s think about Sainsburys

The advert clearly demonstrates¬†Sainsbury’s¬†acts of CSR over the last 140 years, which are now being used as marketing¬†strategies.¬†Generalizing¬†this issue I would say that organisations are continually adopting CSR’s as a way of conveying their ethical issues in an attempt to¬†satisfy¬†the values of their stakeholders.¬†It wasn‚Äôt until the¬†early¬†noughties¬†that they began supporting¬†fair trade, free range hens, and the environment therefore engaging in acts of CSR which reflected increasing¬†societal¬†issues. Do organisations such as¬†Sainsburys¬†really want to go to the trouble of¬†designing¬†reusable¬†bags and supporting¬†fair trade¬†or would they just look¬†ridiculously¬†bad if they¬†didn’t?

What about Philanthropy?

“Philanthropy is a charitable act not necessarily linked to the expectations of society” (Tench and¬†Yeomans, 2009,¬†p.101)

To me I’m not 100% sure¬†whether¬†something can be classed as a charitable act if you‚Äôre going to get something¬†tangible¬†from it. I’m not talking about the general public donating a fiver to Children in Need which in result makes them feel amazing. I’m talking about the huge organisations that are willing to take part in¬†charitable¬†causes only when there is a positive outcome for them.

Organisations are constantly¬†monitored¬†on Return of¬†Investment¬†(ROI) because let‚Äôs face it times are hard, no one has any money and the money ¬†people do have needs to be ploughed into investments which can ¬†deliver¬†a return. It therefore begs the question, to what extent are organisations getting involved in philanthropic acts to just simply do it? For me the answer is simple; they’re not. Take a look at this advert by¬†Sainsburys….

Don‚Äôt get me wrong, it‚Äôs great that¬†Sainsbury’s¬†are getting involved in comic relief, but the problem for me is are they just getting involved for the overall benefits it will have on them? Maybe I’m¬†cynical¬†and just dying for a debate, but as someone who wants to go into PR I think that it‚Äôs important to consider what people actually think about these acts of CSR and Philanthropy. Do we actually fall for it? Would it be enough for us to just walk into the supermarket and see they are selling “text Santa” hats, or do we need to be told? Yeah I’m also an advertising student and I fully understand why they do it, however my concern is are we told too much? Can‚Äôt they just do it and not¬†brag¬†about it? Or has the world become so¬†ruthless that they need to in order to remain a competitor?…


PR Stunts or Propaganda?

12 Dec

And the winners are….. Little Mix!¬†

For those of you who have being living on Pluto for the last 24 hours the final instalment of the X-factor finale saw Little Mix grab first place over Marcus Collins with 48.3% of the votes. Marcus received 42.8% with Amelia Lilly receiving just 8.9% of the votes. (XFactor ITV, 2011)

Having voted for the ‘little muffins’ three times and I am over joyed that they won the show. However every year there is always the same controversy with people claiming its a ‘fix’ simply because their favorite act¬†hadn’t¬†made it! ¬†Could it be that the controversy is the shows outstanding PR team?

The shortcomings of “Frankie-Coke-up-the-Nozza”

We have Louis, the x-factors third wheel whose knowledge of boy bands is extensive, Tulisa, a self-made pop star from the hood, Gary, a legend to the UK pop industry, and Kelly, the retired backing singer to Beyonce. These guys would be able to recognise singing talent if they were deaf, right?….Well all my views suddenly changed when Frankie Cocozza joined the X-factor….

Since his very first audition I was like, ‘wow this guy thinks he’s already Kurt Cobain” his ‘rock star’ appeal somehow made the judges and public see far past his singing abilities. Until, controversy broke.

Unfortunately¬†for me it was no surprise when I saw that Frankie had been fired from the X-factor for breaking one of the shows ‘Golden Rules’. However sadly it was still no surprise when I found out it was because of drugs. Since he first appeared on the show he was perceived to be a cheeky chap who had an eye “or bum” for the ladies.

However over the weeks, Frankie was seen to be continually causing mayhem, all of which was snapped by the newspapers. Gary Barlow, Cocozza’s mentor released this statement:

“We’ve all encouraged Frankie to be bad, it’s just gone too far, out of control for us to be able to as a show to still have him on here.” ¬†(Telegraph,2011)

Although I can appreciate he has no singing ¬†abilities¬†what so ever, I cannot condone how he has been let down by the show. To me, It’s the biggest PR stunt of the year.


Have you ever wondered why the X-factor has the ability to take over the UK ever year? Constant media coverage is what keeps us all in the know. Contrary to Rich Leigh from @GoodandBadPR (PRmoment, 2011) I think that the shows PR team have been particularly outstanding this year, however their approach to success has been somewhat disgusting to watch.

It is to my believe that Frankie Cocozza was used as a ploy to engage viewers whilst the show made him behave in ‘appealing’ ways. The constant news interest surrounding him linked him back to the show, in turn promoting the show. As I keep saying, “Is any news, bad news?” In order to eliminate¬†any negative associations with the show, Frankie was pulled, connoting ‘their ‘good nature’. Although I don’t believe voting figures were fixed, I would say that the firing of Frankie was a good way of bringing Amelia Lilly back into the competition. ¬†It’s not just issues surrounding Frankie, think about Misha B.

Surely its Propaganda?

“The deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions and direct behaviour to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist” (Jowett and O’Donnell, 1992)


"Who's to blame for the war?"

Adolf Hitler “Saw propaganda as a vehicle of political salesmanship in a mass market, and argued that it was a way of conveying a message to the bulk of the German people, not to intellectuals.” (BBC, David Welch, 2011)


Joseph Gobbels, a Nazi party member became Adolf Hitlers propaganda minister in 1933,

which gave him power over all German radio, press, cinema and theatre.

Gobbels, perfected the ‘Big Lie’ technique of propaganda, which is based on the principle that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses.

Although, outdated, Gobbels produced a list of ‘Principles of Propaganda’, ¬†

Although the Nazi example of propaganda is quite a far right example, it helps in understanding the aspects of propaganda and also shows the effectiveness. Considering how propaganda is used to manipulate public opinion. I believe that rather than a PR stunt, the X-factor uses propaganda to manipulate our feelings towards the¬†contestants¬†in order to¬†subliminally¬† ‘fix’ the results. Lets face it, are Little Mix the first girl group to win the X-factor for a reason?….

Just for a laugh… Good old-fashioned propaganda


I value “to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth”

9 Dec

Have you ever thought of what you value most of all? Ever thought why?

Since birth we have been brought up to distinguish between right and wrong. ¬†The fact of the matter is, what‚Äôs wrong to someone might be right to someone else ¬†no one is the same! and wouldn’t it be a boring world if we were. Our personal values are what make us think, feel and do. If you are a regular reader of my blogs you are probably ¬†more than aware that PR is about building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders and therefore understanding what makes people tick is extremely important.

Allow me to present my top 10 values

Take a few moments to think about what you most value but read this first…

‚ÄúYou are in a stable career which you enjoy, however it has been decided that your company are to outsource labour to India, they will pay employees close to nothing and the working conditions will be horrendous in order to keep out going costs at a minimum‚ÄĚ

Where would your loyalties lie at this particular moment? Would it be with yourself, Your employer, or with the labourers?

I believe that values are constantly interchangeable. Using the above example, at this moment in time I value fairness and I wouldn’t be happy to shop at Primark¬†for example because of the issues surrounding them and these types of ‚ÄėSweatshops.‚Äô¬†However what‚Äôs to say that in 10 years when I have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay that my values might change? If I worked for an organisation who was going to start outsourcing cheap labour maybe I wouldn‚Äôt be so quick to shout my values from the roof tops as lets face it I wouldn‚Äôt be able to risk losing the job.

‚ÄúWhat about Celebrities?‚ÄĚ

She‚Äôs the human version of Marmite, ‚ÄúYou either love her, or you hate her‚ÄĚ. Yes I‚Äôm talking about Katie Price.

She‚Äôs constantly slapped on the front of celebrity magazines, but the question I‚Äôm dying to know is ‚ÄúWhat do you value Katie Price?‚ÄĚ

“Ethics means the formal study and codification of moral principles into systematic frameworks so that decisions can be made about what is right and wrong in a reasoned and structured way‚ÄĚ. (Tench and Yeomans,2009, p.276)

It’s no surprise to hear Alister Campbell saying that ‚Äúthe media allows the public to hate or like celebrities, who want to be in the magazines, some of them do, some don‚Äôt theres no distinctions‚ÄĚ

Celebrity magazines are constantly churning ‚Äėstories‚Äô surrounding celebs like Katie Price, ¬†like Marina Hyde ¬† I believe they too should be under ‚Äėethical‚Äô scrutiny. However like Campbell said, some celebrities want to be in the magazines, there is no distinction therefore how do you regulate a media which is supported by those it is offending? because at the end of the day isn‚Äôt any news good news?


¬†‚ÄúThe Five pillars of Ethics‚ÄĚ

  • Veracity– Telling the truth
  • Non-Malfeasance– Doing no harm
  • Beneficence– Doing good
  • Confidentiality Respecting Privacy
  • Fairness- Being fair and socially responsible

The five pillar approach to ethics is a great concept as to me it connotes the entrance wall of a building which without it would fall down….

‚ÄúI promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth‚ÄĚ

Although I wouldn’t blame you for thinking otherwise, PR is all about ‚Äėtruth and trust‚Äô. At the end of the day PR is all about building and maintaining¬†relationships through communication, if there was no trust there would be no relationship. Members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) constantly have to adhere to their codes of conduct which are…

In order to ‚Äėtrust‚Äô I feel we must know the whole story! The question is, do the public value stories which are in the public interest such as, the news of the world phone hacking scandal or the war in Iraq. Or do we prefer stories which are of interest, like the story surrounding Imogen Thomas and a certain footballer?

Moral Panic- 

Its been done many a time but are we consciously aware? There are certain stories, past and present where we ask ‚Äúare we getting the whole story here?‚ÄĚ and the answer to that is, probably not! Believe it or not the media can sometimes grab hold of an issue and in effect create a moral panic , where our response is influenced by the media.

Stories which become interesting to the public are often those involving celebrities. Lets think back to the ‚ÄėImogen Thomas and Ryan Giggs affair‚Äô, maybe it was the secrecy of Ryan‚Äôs identity all I know is we were enthralled. The injunction taken out to silence Thomas wasn‚Äôt enough to stop the media, there was so much interest surrounding this story that it took an MP to announce the footballers name in parliament, with his argument being we live in a democracy! Maybe the fact that we live in a democracy and the fact Twitter is now on the scene helps in finding out the whole truth and nothing but the truth….

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