Friday, 30 April 2010

Pants publicity may mean Grant cuts

Which? magazine is getting its knickers in a twist about the Marks & Spencer anti-cellulite smalls - a story that's created a raft of bad publicity at the worst possible moment for the retailer's spinner, Andrew Grant.
You'll recall that Grant is Sir Stuart Rose's mouthpiece - but with the arrival of new M&S chief exec, Marc Bolland, Grant is becoming increasingly worried that his biggest client might desert his agency, Tulchan. In fact, City gossips are already suggesting that Simon Rigby, of rival Citigate and Bolland's long-serving City spokesman from his WM Morrison days, might be the favourite to nick Grant's crown jewells. Developing...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The end is Nye

Might Gordon Brown honestly be starting to regret getting into bed with the Goldman Sachs crowd?

The investment bank got its big break in Whitehall via its former banker, Gavyn Davies – who is married to Brown's former private secretary and the current director of government relations, Sue Nye.

Since then, political expediency has forced the PM to start branding the bank as "morally bankrupt", while calling for an immediate investigation into the Goldman's dealings. But any votes he might have won through that bit of spin were more than extinguished by today's gaffe of calling Labour voter Gillian Duffy "bigoted".

And who does the "clunking fist" blame for exposing him to Duffy? Er, Sue Nye.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The butterfly, the caterpillar and the Fox

Here's Sir Richard Branson, running the London Marathon at the weekend. Trotting by his side, is Nick Fox, the Virgin tycoon's loyal PR man - who coincidentally managed to record an identical time to his master (5.02:24). Still, you'd have to be a complete cynic to suggest that Fox got roped into this physical torture - and failed to beat his much older boss - simply to ingratiate himself. Many on Fleet Street remember the mouthpiece as a thrusting City hack. How the predators are tamed!

Merlin conjures up new PR strategy

Parents routinely attempt to bribe their children into compliance by offering treats - such as trips to theme parks and the like. But is Legoland and Madame Tussauds owner, Merlin Entertainments, now looking to do the same with the press?
"With Easter now over and the first signs of summer evident, all of the Merlin Entertainments’ attractions are open and showing off their new season investment," an email to the Fourth Estate begins. "Over recent months we have talked a lot about the breadth of the Merlin offer but there is nothing like seeing it for yourself, so Nick [Varney, chief exec] hopes that we can persuade you, along with your friends and family, to visit one or more of the attractions this year."
The company then instructs hacks to call the group's PR company to arrange the complimentary tickets. Isn't life just grand?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Sindy column...

Another supposed "spat" with Bannatyne. For this week's column, click here.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Big losses at the Graun

The announcement by Guardian Media Group that Andrew Miller will become interim chief exec when Easyjet bound Carolyn McCall enters the departure lounge in July got plenty of coverage in rival titles.
Less well covered was the full contents of an email sent to staff explaining the news - in which (buried at the bottom) was the startling news that GMG is going to lose even more money than even it expected.
Amelia Fawcett, chairman of GMG, wrote: "There is, of course, work still to do, and a degree of uncertainty about the future. Unlike many media organisations, though, the ownership structure we have through the Scott Trust allows us to respond to this uncertainty by taking a long-term view.
"In particular, we have constructed the portfolio in a way that deliberately exchanges short-term profit for longer-term capital gain and financial security. This focus on the long term means that the benefits of the work we’ve done will not be reflected in our headline annual results for the year ended in March, which will be published in the next few months. It is
inevitable that the accounting around our restructuring in the last year will create a large paper loss – despite the group now being in a stronger position than before."
Just how much trouble is GMG in?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Tip for Tett

The FT's Gillian Tett today makes the now common mistake, when she says that clients are "risking the wrath of the giant Vampire Squid".
The actual phrase used by Matt Taibbi about Goldman Sachs was "great vampire squid". Surely if you steal other people's work, it's best to at least get it right...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Donald's cheques and balances

Donald Trump, a man who's never knowingly suffered from self-effacement, reveals his management secrets on his blog: "I like signing my own cheques and not pressing a computer button," he muses. "I have many friends who press computer buttons and often times they end up going out of business."
If only avoiding business disaster was that easy. The Donald's businesses, of course, are no stranger to bankruptcy.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Sindy Column...

Is the Dragons' Den spat for real? For this week's column, click here.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Rich List here?

What do the cryptic ads running in the Times (below) - featuring images of two Lord Sugars plus four Roman Abramoviches plus two Bernie Ecclestones equalling one Bill Gates - all mean? Could the Sunday Times Rich List be imminent?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

M&S to spin without A Grant?

With the imminent arrival at Marks & Spencer of new chief Marc Bolland, I wonder if the retailer will now go shopping for new advisers? Andrew Grant, the boss of City spinners Tulchan and the favourite mouthpiece of withdrawing executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose, is believed to be worried about the future of his firm's top account. Developing...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Kleinman finds the Times are a changing

I can exclusively reveal, in this exclusive dispatch, which I am writing exclusively for SlackBelly, that the Times is to end the weekly column penned by Mark Kleinman, Sky News' City Editor. Did I mention that I'd revealed this exclusively?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Sindy Column...

For this weekend's effort, click here.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Lenny Henry no show

I am distressed to read about the marital difficulties of comedian Lenny Henry, the promotional face of Premier Inns. The story gets me thinking: has Lenny checked in for an extended stay at the budget hotel?

“I don’t think he has,” rues a Premier spokesman. “But it would have been nice.”

For whom?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Slater no longer in love with tennis funding

Legendary investor, Jim Slater, has saved British tennis once before (he bankrolled Tim Henman's training and schooling). Now that the sport in this country has plunged to new depths (the Davis Cup defeat to that great tennis nation, Lithuania, was a new low) I wonder if he might help out again?
Sadly not. "I feel that I have done enough and I am looking for other sports to encourage," Slater tells me.
Is there anybody that the Lawn Tennis Association has onside?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Anyone want a "dodgy" gong?

I hear of a tasty little spat in the world of trade publishing.
CorpComms Magazine - which does pretty well what it says on the tin - launched its new digital awards ceremony in its last issue. Two days before going live with the project on April 1, the mag's competitor, Communicate, unveiled a rival digital awards ceremony, picking a closing date for entries one day ahead of CorpComms.
It could all be a coincidence, I suppose, although this is not how the corporate communications industry is viewing the crowded schedule. Potential sponsors tell me that this is Communicate's fourth attempt at an awards event - although only one has actually been held so far.
Meanwhile, they whisper that the CorpComm awards are called "the Digis", while the industry has suddenly dubbed the rival event "the Dodgies". Time for a PR makeover?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Kyle MacLachlan gets his finance lines wrong

For reasons quite unfathomable, Kyle MacLachlan - the actor who female readers may have watched in television's Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives - has been talking to the Telegraph about personal finance.

He says: "My first professional acting job earned me $550 – it was a Shakespeare festival in Oregon. I shared a house with three other people for $97 so we lived pretty well, all things considered. Nowadays, I'm much less of a spendthrift – I get it and spend it, so I have to keep working!"

I wouldn't expect a small screen American actor to know that the word 'spendthrift' means someone who is profligate, not parsimonious, but surely Telegraph sub-editors (even the ones now located in Australia to save costs) should know better?

It wasn't that long ago that the whole of the newspaper's staff received a Christmas bollocking on this very subject from associate editor, Simon Heffer. As the Heff lectured: "If you don't know what a word means it is generally a good idea not to use it until you have found out". He might have a point.

Sindy Column...

Belatedly, click here for Sunday's column on how new Ladbrokes chief Richard Glynn might run (plus the usual Cazenove bulletin).