The Bite – A PR perspective

At work today, I was asked to write a short piece analysing the fallout of the Luis Suarez biting incident from a PR perspective. I got a bit carried away, wrote too much, and had to cut it down. Which is good news for you lot, because it means I can use the unabridged version as a blog. Reduce, reuse, recycle, as Bob The Builder might say…

You know he might. He really might.

They say there’s a fine line between genius and madness, and there’s few better examples of that than the case of Luis Suarez.

The full scale of his ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character came into full focus this week when, fresh from demonstrating his brilliance in effectively dumping England out of the World Cup, the mercurial Uruguay forward hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after sinking his teeth into the flesh of the Italian defender, Giorgio Chiellini.

Amid a widespread outpouring of shock and condemnation as Suarez became the centre of a storm of controversy for the umpteenth time, there was also room for some quirky creativity from brands who quickly capitalised on the incident.

Serial stunt specialists Specsavers leveraged its iconic ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’ line by alluding that Suarez may have confused his opponent with the popular Italian dish, cannelloni, while Snickers referenced its ‘Eat a Snickers’ campaign with the slogan ‘More satisfying than an Italian’.  Official World Cup partners also got in on the act, with Budweiser pointing out the virtues of its twist cap Bud Light bottles, while McDonalds in Uruguay were keen to stress that biting on a Big Mac is preferable to chowing down on Chiellini.

However, while some brands reveled in the limelight, there were others left scratching their heads as they pondered their next move. Suarez’s boot sponsor, Adidas, has announced that it is to review its relationship with the striker, and with a four month ban from all football activity now in effect, he has already been dropped as the worldwide ambassador of 888 Poker.

Most fascinating of all, though, will be the response of Liverpool Football Club.

With its questionable PR activity surrounding some of Suarez’s previous controversies still fresh in the minds of the powers-that-be at the Anfield club, including the disastrous t-shirts stunt after he was charged with racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, its reaction to this incident will require careful consideration.

While there will be a temptation for the club to rid itself of a player who has once again dragged its reputation through the mud, losing somebody of his unquestionable quality would without doubt reduce its prospects on the field.

In this case, the most fascinating clash for Liverpool this season is the brand versus the team. What will the outcome be? Now there’s a debate to really get your teeth into.

How people find my blog…

Just a quick one – one of the things I find most interesting about blogging on WordPress is the fact that I can see the Google search terms that people entered in order to come to be here.

Normally, I’d like this list to comprise of several terms which indicate that my visitors come in search of insightful, witty and beautifully written content.

Here’s the list for the last three months:

Search Views
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bt infinity advert cast halloween 12
bt advert cast 12
bt infinity advert halloween dj 7
bt infinity advert cast 7
bt infinity halloween advert actors 5
bt infinity advert halloween cast 5
actor in bt infinity advert 5
bt infinity advert actors 4
who are the actors in the bt infinity advert 4
bt infinity halloween advert 4
guy in bt infinity advert 4
halloween bt advert 4
actors in bt infinity advert 3
bt infinity advert 2012 cast 3
bt halloween advert cast 3
who is the dj in the bt advert 3
bt halloween advert 3
bt advert halloween cast 3
bt infinity broadband halloween party 2
bt infinity cast 2
bt advert halloween 2
cast of bt infinity advert 2
cast of bt infinity halloween advert 2
bt infinity advert man 2
wonga fraud department 2
cast of bt halloween advert 2
bt advert cast 2012 2
bt infinity broadband halloween advert actors 1
who is the halloween dj in bt ad 1
who is the halloween dj in the bt advert 1
bt infinity adbert halloween party song 1
wonga 1
bt infinity halloween advert song 1
bt infinity halloween ad 1
who is the dj in the btinfinty halloween ad 1
bt infinity cast commercial 1
wonga helpline 1
papier mache frank 1
wonga money customer service helpline 1
bt infinity adverts cast 1
whos the dj from the haloween bt advert 1
bt infinity halloween advert shit 1
song from bt halloween advert 1
dj from bt infinity advert 1
bt infinity halloween cast 1
what is the song on the bt broadband halloween advert 1
bt halloween cast 1
halloween bt advert actors 1
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bt halloween ad 1
bt infinity advert halloween 1
bt infinity teenage advert cast 1
gravestone bt infinity advert 1
wonga hello goodbye 1
bt infinity ads cast 1
bt fibre optic halloween advert cast 1
halloween bt advert cast 1
who is the dj in the bt infinity halloween advert 1
bt infinity advert tom’s mother 1
who is the dj in bt infinity ad 1
dj in bt infinity ad 1
bt advert halloween song 1
whats that dude’s name on the bt advert 1
cast bt infinity advert halloween 1
music to bt infinity halloween party ad 1
who are the actors in the bt adverts 1
who are the actors in the bt infinity adverts 1
bt advert cast halloween 1
who plays mum on,bt vision avert 1
bt infinity advert 1
thisblogisnamedtom 1
wonga customer satisfaction survey 1
hello@wonga.com 1
bt infinity halloween party song 1
bt infinity halloween advert music 1
wonga fraud team never gets in touch 1
what are the actors names in bt infinity adverts 1
if i cancel my debit card will wonga still be able to take money 1
bt infinity halloween dj 1
fraud wonga 1
puppets wonga.com 1
the dj in the bt infinity halloween advert 1
bt infinity adverts 2012 1
the bt adverts cast 1
who is the actor in the bt advert 2012 1
whos the guy in the bt infinity advert cast 1
aloadofwonga.com 1
names ofactors in bt broadband advert 1
actors in bt advert 1
bt infinity ad actors 1
samantha fardon 1
actors bt infinity broadband ads 1
optin@wonga.com 1
wonga don’t answer phone 1
wonga just hang up when i call 1
bt ad cast 1
bt vision advert people 1
who is the guy in the bt infinity advert 1

 Gutted.

The price of impending humiliation…

As I said in my last blog, I’m currently doing my damnedest to live a more active lifestyle and have taken up running. Well, I say running… I recently got to a point where I can run for three minutes without stopping, and I’m ashamed to say it’s very nearly killing me.

That’s why I’m fairly bewildered by what I’ve pledged to do in the next ten days. And I’m afraid to say that I’m about to become one of those annoying people passing around the begging bowl for their latest charity endeavour.

The first of the two undertakings within the forthcoming fortnight takes place this Wednesday (i.e. the day after tomorrow). For reasons unknown, I’ve agreed to play in a charity football match over in Dublin. This is an entirely ludicrous idea for the following reasons:

1) I’ve not played 11-a-side football for 17 years.
2) I’ve not played football full stop for nearly three years
3) Running in bursts of three minutes at a time is proving a struggle, so quite how I think I’m going to manage it for 90 minutes is beyond me.

The match is in aid of three Irish charities –  Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, a children’s cancer charity, DPOL, supporting disabled people in Co.Longford and Torun Children’s Hospice.

I realise that many people prefer to support charities closer to home, but I hope you’ll agree that a good cause is a good cause wherever it is in the world, and that if you have a pound or two to spare you may be able to donate.

I’m afraid I don’t have a JustGiving page or anything like that for this – I just have a sponsorship form to fill out. Therefore, if you do want to donate, please email me on ttparker@live.co.uk telling me how much you’d like to give, I’ll pay in cash when I’m in Ireland on Wednesday, and I’ll sort out how you can get the money to me afterwards.

For those of you who do wish to donate to a more familiar charity instead, I’m doing another bit for charity a week on Saturday, and this too involves running around a football pitch – literally.

I’m aiming to do a few organised runs this year as an incentive to keep up my quest for fitness, and the first of them is a modest one miler on 10th March. In the hope that I can be inspired by my surroundings, the mile comes in the shape of four laps of the pitch at my beloved Villa Park, and is in aid of the Acorns Children’s Hospice.

If you’re in the West Midlands, I probably don’t need to say anything more about the amazing work that Acorns does, so it would be great to raise a few quid for this incredible cause. If you’d like to donate for this one, please let me know and I’ll give you the full SP when I receive my fundraising pack later this week.

I realise that there’s a lot of people doing incredibly worthwhile things for charity with regularity these days, and while this is hardly a marathon or a climb up a mountain, it’s probably going to be a struggle for me personally! Therefore, even the smallest amounts would be hugely appreciated.

You are all lovely, lovely people.

You know you are. You really are.

When The Sun goes down…

I read The Sun.

There, I said it.

Before the more discerning (snobbish) reader closes the blog and vows never to read my musings again, bear with me… I mean, of course, it’s not my primary source of news, but I often describe it as the tabloid pudding after my broadsheet main course.

The entertaining thing for me is to see how The Sun will take a story, twist it in a way that it becomes an effective bait for the uneducated, then you can sit back and imagine the ‘HELL IN A HANDCART’ response it’s likely to get from some. It’s sort of unpleasant, but in a nice way – not nasty like The Daily Mail. Russell Brand got it spot on.

It’s evidenced perfectly with this story. A piece of Police advice mentions that pubs may wish to discourage the wearing of Football shirts in order to prevent its clientèle from engaging in violence. It’s misplaced concern at worst, yet The Sun puts its own special spin on the story to engage wind-up mode… “ENGLAND shirts could be BANNED at pubs” screams the story’s top line, selected words capitalised to enhance its anti-PC tone.

Next comes the quote from the victim (attributed to nobody because, let’s face it, the journalist has made it up) which increases the sense of outrage and injustice: ‘But one patriotic fan said yesterday: “We often hear of a loss of pride in Britain, now cops want to ban the England shirt. It’s like saying anyone who wears one is a yob.”‘

So, simple Police guidance has now been twisted into the boys in blue aiming to BAN the England shirt! It cranks up. We can imagine the level of indignation the typical moron is currently feeling… only, in these days of social media, we don’t just imagine their reaction. And thus begins an online movement fuelled by the most retarded game of Chinese Whispers of all time.

Before we know it, despite The Sun’s story carrying no suggestion that the Police advisory comes as a result of protestations from those of other nationalities and creeds, the cries of outrage reach these frankly desperate proportions:

(Click image for full size)

Needless to say, the poster of that particular garbage is no longer my Facebook friend.