It’s PR innit….
There’s a nice article in the current Economist about Gordon Brown’s first steps at ‘campaigning’ to be a popular prime minister.
It starts by highlighting a couple of campaigning blunders...being filmed as a member of the public slammed a door in his face, his face being partially blocked by an autocue while making a speech, a struggle to release some balloons from a net...that sort of thing.
The article then discusses the perception of Brown in relation to Tony Blair and David Cameron and draws to a conclusion that Brown’s differentiator is that he’s seen as someone who gets things done without too much razzmatazz. It’s a position that leaves Blair and Cameron as showman that don’t deliver. The article closes by pondering whether those early campaigning blunders were not as careless as they looked.
It’s a similar line of thought that surrounded Masterfoods’ announcement – and subsequent backtrack – that it would introduce animal rennet into a number of its products (such as Mars, Snickers and Twix), making them unsuitable for vegetarians. Well, not all vegetarians...as Masterfoods' corporate affairs manager Paul Goalby told the BBC: "If the customer is an extremely strict vegetarian, then we are sorry the products are no longer suitable, but a less strict vegetarian should enjoy our chocolate". In the same way that a "less strict vegetarian" would probably enjoy a sausage sandwich. And I, as a "less strict" tee-totaler, like getting a bit drunk.
Paul Own-Goalby, more like...
But perhaps we're doing him a disservice? Maybe it was all a clever PR move to generate loads of publicity, a bit of controversy and then a positive feeling around the company’s reaction to ‘listen to its customers'?
Initially, TWL wrote this all off as silly nonsense, something that possible might occasionally happen in the consumer world but certainly not in sensible technology PR.
But then we started to think harder and began to wonder. Apple was deemed too stupid for words, only to come back a resurgent force and able to charge a fortunate for mediocre products because it was the cool underdog...and then Microsoft launched a rather rubbish product in Zune to make itself the underdog, so that when the much better (can't be much worse) Zune II launches, it'll look blinding by comparison. And speaking of Microsoft, it has clearly (probably) manoeuvred Google by deliberately stifling MSN search so that Google looks all monopolistic and nasty. Next year, who knows, Acorn might rise again and give Windows a damn good kicking as it benefits from retro O/S trend.
God, they’re clever these PR people...pretending they’re shite by delivering things late, being unprofitable and employing thickos.
Evil geniuses, the lot of them.