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Top of the PR pops: September Highlights

Blog post   •   Oct 03, 2014 08:05 BST

After a month off, we’re back! It’s top of the PR pops time as we take a look over some of the things that have got us talking this month. 

Nude photos and gender inequality 

After announcing the launch of the gender equality initiative ‘HeForShe’ in her first ever speech as a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson appeared to be the next victim of the internet forum, 4chan, whose users had leaked nude photographs of other celebrity women weeks before.

However, once the countdown timer struck zero on the website set to publish Watson's naked photos it was revealed that it had nothing to do with 4chan users and a link to Rantic Media’s website, a self declared “social marketing enterprise,” appeared along with the following message:

"We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature -- and will be step closer to shutting down"

To confuse things further, Rantic Media doesn’t actually exist. This prank seems to be the work of sophisticated hoaxters who, as wrote, “expertly manipulated the internet outrage cycle, not because the mainstream media “listen[s] and believe[s] the feminist victimization narrative,” as one particularly obnoxious Reddit user put it, but precisely because women are regularly victimized online.”

Although the mainstream media were quick to condemn Rantic for subjecting Watson to the same threats as 4chan and other online forums and publications, it is worth remembering that they too are guilty of similarly victimising women.

It was not that long ago Angela Merkel’s bare bum and the Duchess of Cambridge’s breasts appeared on the front pages of tabloids and gossip magazines around the globe. Until we end the publication of naked pictures of women on Page 3 and gossip magazines stop analysing celebrities’ bikini bodies, true gender equality will continue to remain unattainable.

You can watch Emma’s full speech below: 

Denmark descends into madness...over a vase

Yes, really. When Danish brand Kähler announced they’d be releasing their 175th anniversary vase consumers across the country went into a frenzy, with 16,000 consumers managing to crash their website in the hopes of getting their hands on one of limited edition, white with gold striped, ceramic vase.

The ceramics company had seen a surge in popularity in recent years with their products often appearing in lifestyle and design magazines which somewhat helps to explains why the announcement of the limited edition design was met with such enthusiasm.

#VaseGate soon began trending on social media as disappointed consumers vented their anger. Some brands were quick to take advantage of the situation and jumped in on the conversation. These were two of my favourites…


Apparently we’re Better Together…

It was with a heavy heart that I boarded the train from my home town of Glasgow to London a couple of weekends ago. My country had voted against its own independence, in my eyes this is almost as unbelievable as mass frenzy over a limited edition vase.

I apologise if I'm sharing too many of my political and personal opinions but I will do my best to look at the Scottish referendum from a communications professional’s point of view in this very brief summary...

The media

Only one single paper - The Sunday Herald - backed the Yes campaign with blogs and social media giving voice to the grassroots movement and providing an alternative viewpoint. With almost every single news publication against Independence it is incredible that 45% of the population did vote Yes. 

Equally, it is hardly unsurprising that approximately 70% of over 65s, the majority of which are not active on social media and rely on traditional print publications for their news, voted “No.” 

The Better Together campaign

About a week before the referendum was due to take place a poll revealed that those intending to vote Yes had overtaken No, resulting in all four leaders of the largest political parties in the UK making their way up from England to back the Better Together campaign and make vague, last minute promises of more powers for Scotland should the people chose to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

Couple this with the Better Together campaign’s video to appeal to undecided voters which was both sexist and completely patronising, it’s hard to believe such a weak and often desperate campaign managed to achieve their goal... 

The Yes campaign

The Yes campaign brought together members of different political parties, community activists and non-political activists. Using Twitter and Facebook, they managed to build local networks and discussion groups. 

As a result the Yes campaign became the biggest grassroots movement Scotland has ever seen, with over 300 local community groups, 50 sectoral and dozens of other smaller groups established prior to the referendum.

Just to clarify, being pro-Independence did not mean you were an English hating, kilt clad, whiskey guzzling patriot. It meant that you believed that the people living in Scotland were those best placed to make the decisions on how the country should be run.  It meant no more money would be wasted on nuclear weapons and illegal wars but spent on building a fairer society for those who live there.

It broke my heart that Scotland didn’t take the opportunity to have its own independence. However, let’s hope that the United Kingdom is “better together” and the UK party leaders fulfil their promises to the people of Scotland. 

But if not, they should be rest assured that this newly politically engaged nation, which still has thriving pro-independence online communities and now the third largest political party in the UK following the tripling of the number of SNP members in the last two weeks, Scotland will once again make its case for independence. 

What's on your bucket list? 

This seems like a perfectly reasonable question to ask, right? I mean, hasn't everyone talked about things they'd love to have a chance to do in their lifetime? 

Well, perhaps it's a question best not asked by an airline who has lost two planes full of passengers in the last year. 

Following the loss of flights MH17 and MH370, Malaysia airlines have seen a huge reduction in ticket sales. In an attempt to counteract this they ran a promotion asking consumer what places in the world were on their "Ultimate Bucket List" to be in with the chance of winning a flight to Malaysia or an iPad. 

It shouldn't be surprising to hear that the campaign, which ran in Australia and New Zealand, was seen as offensive and insensitive. This resulted in a formal apology and the competition being renamed. 

Just what were their comms team thinking!?



Mynewsdesk highlights

Once again, it’s been a busy month for us. The whole company gathered in Sweden for it’s annual People Days get together (hence why there was no August edition of Top of the PR pops).

We’ve also been working on a few really exciting projects in both the product and marketing teams which will be revealed to you very soon!

In the meantime, why not check out this webinar which we held as part of Social Media Week and fill out our quick survey on influencer relations.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s Top of the PR pops, we’d love to hear what your highlights were too…