“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 😉 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’s the difference between CSR, CRM and philanthropy then? For me there isn’t much of a difference, the only obvious being CSR reflects society’s 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’t 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’re 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’s 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’s 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’s 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!


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’s 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…

“You 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”

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 ‘Sweatshops.’ However what’s 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’t be so quick to shout my values from the roof tops as lets face it I wouldn’t be able to risk losing the job.

“What about Celebrities?”

She’s the human version of Marmite, “You either love her, or you hate her”. Yes I’m talking about Katie Price.

She’s constantly slapped on the front of celebrity magazines, but the question I’m dying to know is “What do you value Katie Price?”

“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”. (Tench and Yeomans,2009, p.276)

It’s no surprise to hear Alister Campbell saying that “the media allows the public to hate or like celebrities, who want to be in the magazines, some of them do, some don’t theres no distinctions”

Celebrity magazines are constantly churning ‘stories’ surrounding celebs like Katie Price,  like Marina Hyde I believe they too should be under ‘ethical’ 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’t any news good news?


 “The Five pillars of Ethics”

  • 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….

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

Although I wouldn’t blame you for thinking otherwise, PR is all about ‘truth and trust’. 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 ‘trust’ 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 “are we getting the whole story here?” 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 ‘Imogen Thomas and Ryan Giggs affair’, maybe it was the secrecy of Ryan’s identity all I know is we were enthralled. The injunction taken out to silence Thomas wasn’t 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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