04 May 2007

The good news is, there's no fire...

...the bad news is...

Bit of a funny one this. There's a department store called Robbs in Hexham, a little market town in the north of England. Times have been hard - no surprise, retail's a tough sector and let's face it, all the money's down south - and it's gone out of business; parent company's in administration, the lot. The store's going to have to close, which means redundancies. It's a sorry tale, but not an unusual one.

So, you're the manager with the tough job of telling 140-odd staff they've lost their job. You could do with gathering them all together...but that means getting all of the customers out of the shop. A brainwave! Set off the fire alarm. Customers clear off - in a mild state of panic, but who's worried about them any more? - and you've got all the staff standing in the car park (probably in light, cold drizzle) where you can give them the news.

"Fire alarm..? Yes...somewhat ironic really, given what I need to tell you..."

Predictably, the local MP and press is up in arms at the "brutal" treatment of the staff. So, as a small shop in a tiny northern town, what would you do?

You'd call in massive global PR company Hill & Knowlton's crisis management team, that's what.

How strange.

11 comments:

Stephen said...

I know Robbs. My old agency used to do the advertising for it. Shame it's closed.

Yeah the money might be down here but the fresh air and countryside is up there.

[[TWL to insert witty comment about fresh air and country side not paying the bills here.]]

Anonymous said...

I'll second Stephen's comments. You lot slaving away in some London sweat shop are missing out! The north is great! You can have a PR career and - eeek - have a life too!

Anonymous said...

As anyone who moves to the sticks knows, (but won't admit) once you leave London - where all the decent, lucrative and interesting work is - you become about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

You don't see Brunswick hubbing out of Barnsley do you? It's like choosing Bristol because it's a major economic centre, (behind Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle etc, etc.) But the thickie yokels and quality of life makes up for it, doesn't it? Do me a favour!

Going regional is admitting you don't have what it takes to make it in the industry. And the pay is rubbish, too. Pah!

Anonymous said...

>>"Going regional is admitting you don't have what it takes to make it in the industry. And the pay is rubbish, too. Pah!"<<

what about if you've already made it, got fed-up with all the London bullshit and fancy a change of scenery..??

SpiderJ said...

<< what about if you've already made it, got fed-up with all the London bullshit and fancy a change of scenery..?? >>

You do what Katie Kemp did. She left as MD of Text 100, become Senior VP at WagEd in Oregon (and you can't get much more backswoodsy than Oregon), lived on a farm, and last I heard is setting up a her own school!

Prem said...

Did I read that right? H&K are working for a shop that doesn't exist anymore owned by a company in liquidation?? It raises two questions:

1) what on earth are the objectives (for the afforementioned no longer existing company)

2) who is going to pay H&K's bill??

Anonymous said...

>>"Did I read that right? H&K are working for a shop that doesn't exist anymore owned by a company in liquidation??"<<

H&K are working for the receivers...

Anonymous said...

>>Going regional is admitting you don't have what it takes to make it in the industry. And the pay is rubbish, too. Pah!<<


If I had a quid for every account we'd taken from London-based PR agencies, I'd have, oooooh, nearly 20 quid by now.

And we pay a fortune, which goes even further because we don't have to pay grossly inflated prices. So there.

Anonymous said...

or you could relocate to one of the many tech PR agencies in san francisco and live in marin county which looks like this.

Anonymous said...

There's no Tube. Rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous ... "we pay a fortune"... Reveal yourself!

... unless you aren't hiring of course! ;-)