It’s been an interesting old week from a PR perspective, starting with Prince Andrew Duke of York’s disastrous TV interview. If media reports are to be believed, Andrew went against the advice of at least one of his key advisors and decided that an interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis was a good idea. I think we can all agree it wasn’t, but he did it, so he could have at least communicated some important ‘key messages’. You know, basics, such as a condemnation of Epstein. You’d have thought this was the obvious route, but Andrew refused to express regret about his friendship with him and belittled all of his victims with the description of Epstein’s predatory behaviour as ‘unbecoming’. I think every PR person in the UK – or indeed anyone with some basic humanity – probably winced at that point.
Last night many of us tuned in to ITV to watch the leaders’ debate. Unfortunately, a dramatic opening and jazzy studio lighting turned out to be the most interesting thing about this debate. Let down by poor questions that sounded like they’d been sourced from local junior school children, and the weak (and too polite) chairing by Julie Etchingham, the debate failed to properly or coherently scrutinise any policies or address the questions of the UK people. Described by Etchingham herself as one of the most important elections in UK history, it was baffling that the final question that was allowed was ‘What would you leave under each other’s Christmas tree’. Who won the debate? No idea, but certainly not the electorate.
Off screen drama was unfolding when the Conservative Party rebranded its @CCHQPress Twitter account to “factcheckUK” during the leaders’ debate. At a time when the truth is already hard to come by, we are pleased that our professional body, the CIPR, has strongly condemned the stunt and that Twitter described it as “misleading”. However, what’s confusing is why Twitter issued a ‘telling off’ to the Conservatives but then chose to temporarily suspend Ralf Little for doing the same thing? One rule for one…..