Archive Page 2

The latest Ipsos MRBI/Irish Times political poll makes for a depressing read for Fianna Fail. In the wake of a number of blunders by the Fine Gael and Labour coalition, Michael Martin and the rest of the Fianna Fail party must be wondering what they need to do to get a boost in the polls. Needless to say, hours after the poll the public soul searching by some of Martin’s rivals has already begun.

How is it that Sinn Fein gain in popularity, while Fianna Fail’s support continues to stagnate?

Is the party out of touch? Is Martin the wrong man for the job? Did the collapse of the Celtic Tiger fundamentally destroy the base of what has been the most popular party in the history of the State?

Perhaps the answer is a lot simpler. I read a great interview in the FT today with Timothy Bell, one of Margaret Thatcher’s main advisers (registration required, but free to read.)  There is a fantastic quote in the article:

“When you’re in opposition the only argument you’ve got is that it’s time for a change,” he says.

This is what makes the next election in the UK so interesting, he says. “Whatever happens there’s going to be a change. So nobody’s going to be able to do ‘it’s time for a change’ and nobody’s going to be able to do ‘it’s no time for a change’.”

The problem for Fianna Fail is that they are essentially seen as part of the establishment, whether they are in opposition or not.  Telling the electorate that they are the party to deliver change simply won’t wash with the public, no matter who the leader is at the moment.  The fundamental reason for Sinn Fein’s gradual rise in popularity is that more people are seeing them as the only real alternative.

This is also what will make the next election so interesting to watch. It would be in Sinn Fein’s best interests to stay out of Government for as long as possible.  They will be faced with a real gamble – take the reins of power and potentially see their popularity crumble like a castle with foundations built on sand over five years.  Or alternatively hold off for the same period to underline their position as the only political alternative, whilst praying that the continued turnaround in Ireland’s economic fortunes does not lead to the public repaying Fine Gael with their loyalty.

Media Movement

Paul Cunningham has been appointed as editor of RTE’s The Week in Politics. He will continue as European correspondent until also until the end of the year.

Cormac Ó hEadhra, drivetime host on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, has been confirmed as the new presenter of The Late Debate on RTÉ Radio 1.

Media Movement

Colette Sexton and Jack Horgan Jones have both joined the Sunday Business Post.

Conor Ryan has left the Irish Examiner to join RTE.

Marcus Lehnen has been appointed as news editor at UTV Ireland.

Arthur Beesley has been appointed as economics editor at the Irish Times.

Cormac Moore and Danielle Moyes are the new presenters of Spin FM’s Zoo Crew.

TV3 is launching a new show called The Gadget Buzz, which will be presented by Laura Wood, Joe Donnelly, Keith Nolan and Georgie Galvin.

Vincent Browne has finished writing his column for the Irish Times.

Amanda Brunker has finished writing her column for the Sunday World.

Mairead Farrell is leaving the Ray Darcy show to become the new producer of the Ian Dempsey breakfast show.

Claire Grady has stepped down as editor of the Irish Independent. A search for her replacement has commenced. Ian Mallon is acting editor in her absence.

KISS magazine has closed.

INM is merging the Evening Herald and Sunday World newsrooms which will lead to some voluntary redundancies.

As part of the revised TV3 schedule, FYI has finished up and will no longer air on 3e.

Topical ad from Toyota in the wake of the Jay-Z/Solange controversy.

This anti-racism campaign is inspired. In order to highlight the prevalence of racism in Spanish football, two Barcelona players had planned to eat the next piece of fruit thrown at them during a match. Dani Alves kicked off the campaign in the clip below, which was followed up by a series of posts by numerous players and fans. You can read more about the campaign here.

Paddy Power has been all over David Moyes’ reign as manager of Manchester United, eventually culminating in his dismissal. Their two best stunts involved having a grim reaper in the crowd at the Everton game that proved to be his eventual undoing and erecting a statue of David Moyes outside Anfield.

With the World Cup around the corner, Paddy Power has moved on from David Moyes to try and solve the mystery of how England can win the World Cup. Paddy Power commissioned Stephen Hawking to analyse the key factors which have affected England’s World Cup performances in their 45 finals games since 1966. The resulting scientific model was then used to help predict the probability of England winning key matches in Brazil this summer. Although it’s similar in nature to a Ladbrokes stunt from a few years ago, it garnered wall-to-wall coverage.

Paddy Power’s most inspired stunt, however, has been tricking the public to believe that they had cut down tries in the rain forest to carve out a message of support for the English football team. has the full back story.

Although Nigel Farage led UKIP to some success in the recent European and local elections, he came under some media scrutiny, particularly around employing his German wife as his private secretary. Xpat jobs, a recruitment site, put up an ad for the job, which led to hundreds of applications and some column inches for the company.

Irish Media Movement

Jennifer Bray is now health correspondent with the Irish Daily Mail.

Vincent Ryan has moved from the Irish Examiner to the Sunday Times business desk.

Padraic Halpin is now Dublin bureau chief for Thomson Reuters after the departure of Sam Cage.

A number of appointments have been announced at the Irish Independent. Kevin Doyle and Donal O’Donovan have been appointed as the news editor and deputy business editor respectively. Cormac Bourke has been appointed as executive editor and will, according to the paper, “play a key role in day-to-day news generation” and “also be involved in strategic planning in the context of a digital first newsroom and overseeing special investigations.

Time And The Creative Process

Working in a PR agency, you are constantly challenged to deliver creative ideas within very tight deadlines. Despite the short amount of time available, it never fails to amaze me that we all constantly turn work around. That said, this video about time and the creative process, which Cafe Creative made and circulated to their clients clearly illustrates how you will get better results by giving an agency the time and space to deliver. Their point is simply made in the video by contrasting the drawings of primary school children given ten seconds to draw a clock face and then given ten minutes to repeat the same task.

So You Want A Career In PR?

I get contacted often enough about people thinking about pursuing a career in PR looking for advice, so I’m writing down my thoughts here so I can copy and past them in future.

1. Go for a cup of coffee for someone who works in PR – It never fails to surprise me that people will spend a lot of time and money to get into the world of public relations, but not actually have a clue what the world of communications involves. Meet someone for a cup of coffee, ask them what their day job involves and then decide if it’s the career for you. A simple step to save a lot of stress in the future.

2. Don’t waste your time with a PR degree – There only seems to be a couple of PR degree courses in Ireland to be fair, it seems to be a much bigger UK phenomenon, but you should not spend up to four years of your life to learn how to work in public relations. A different qualification will allow you to offer far better insights. If you really want to do a course, do a post graduate qualification, but to be honest you would be just as well off by buying a copy of Ellen Gunning’s book and teaching yourself. My biggest hangup about PR courses in Ireland is that there simply isn’t enough entry level positions to cater for the amount of students coming through each year.

3. Get experience – One of my biggest regrets from university was not doing a work placement over the summer. If you’re doing a four year course, you have three potential opportunities to do an internship and get to learn about the world of communications and see if it’s what you actually want to do. More importantly, it’s a great way to position yourself for a job with a future employer as there simply isn’t enough entry level positions out there.

4. Help out a charity – There’s no better way to gain experience and build media contacts by helping out a charity. It’s a great way to demonstrate to employers how capable you are.

5. Read papers, listen to the radio, watch TV and surf the web – I am consistently amazed at the amount of people I meet in interviews, who tell me they want to work in public relations, but can’t tell me much about what they read, watch or listen to. You have to know what is going on in the world around. How else will you be able to know what’s newsworthy, what is top of mind for the public and what inspires people to take action.

6. Be social – Besides the fact that your future employers will automatically assume you’re a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat et al addict, social media is actually one of the simplest ways to develop media relationships. It’s a window into journalists’ personalities and what they cover. You should also take a step back to understand what content works on social media channels and which organisations use it well from a communications perspective. It’s also important to familiarise yourself with things like the Facebook admin or the WordPress admin panels.

7. Think visually – I’ll leave you with this video below. It was made by a seventeen year old. I would love to be growing up now and be able to develop skills like this. People with the technical skills that are able to communicate effectively visually are going to be the winners in the multimedia world we’re moving into.

I Believe That We Will Win! – Belvedere College Basketball from Bold Move on Vimeo.

Love this ad by Samsung as part of their sponsorship of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Fantastic stunt by the Wu-Tang Clan to launch their new album by only selling one physical copy.

MHP Communications are keeping up their good work for GAME in the UK by offering Man United season ticket holders to trade in their tickets for a copy of the latest FIFA video game.

Everyone is having pot shots at Manchester United this year, Hotelsdotcom also got in on the act by offering United fans 10 per cent off hotels in Europe after they were knocked out of the Champions League.

Nice gesture by Fulham, with players ringing fans to say thanks for renewing their season tickets.

Pilion Trust charity’s F*** The Poor stunt is inspired, it really underlines volunteering your time or donating money to a cause is more impactful than a rant on Twitter or a Like on Facebook.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet.

In Manchester United’s case it took them 26 years to build their reputation and they have spent the last couple of days tarnishing it.

From a PR perspective, it has been fascinating to watch the dismissal of David Moyes unfold, particularly as a fan of the club.

When Moyes was originally appointed last July, there was a lot of effort put in by the club to highlight that he was a long term appointment. Alex Ferguson’s retirement speech was used as a platform to urge fans to get behind the new boss; Moyes was deliberately given a six year deal to show the faith the club was putting in him; the Chosen One banner; and club representatives like Bobby Charlton were rolled out to deliver messages about the long term future – “We have secured a man who is committed to the long-term and will build teams for the future as well as now. Stability breeds success.”

Lots of public displays of commitment, but as the saying goes you’re only singing when you’re winning and United’s results on the pitch called for a change of tune.

While the majority of supporters probably accept that it was the right decision to make a change at the top, the manner that Manchester United dismissed Moyes left a lot to be desired.

The writing was on the wall the day after a woeful performance against Everton, when at 2.15pm on Monday a number of journalists simultaneously tweeted that Moyes was to be sacked. This was quickly followed up by news stories on their respective websites within five minutes. Something like this is not mere coincidence, it is the result of background briefings with media under the specific agreement that the news is embargoed until a certain time.

Once the clock struck 2.15pm, Twitter was alight as the news made its way around the world in seconds due to the reach of the journalists and outlets selected for the briefings.

What followed next was even more cloak and dagger as media outlets then approached Manchester United for comment. In their responses they deliberately chose their words carefully, stating that Moyes had not ‘been’ sacked, but as Stan Collymore quickly pointed out they didn’t use the word ‘being’ as it was clearly only a matter of time.

Moyes by all accounts was clearly unaware up until this point and had apparently been working on deals for a number of targets with his supposed transfer warchest – another PR stunt rolled out weeks earlier by United to show their faith in their man. The message clearly struck home as he turned up at the club grounds the next day at 4.30am to avoid the cameras, ahead of his inevitable dismissal at 8am.

Over the twenty six years of Ferguson’s reign at United, the world of football had clearly changed. Whatever romanticism it once involved was dead and buried. Money is now the name of the game. That made Manchester United that bit more special, as fans largely ignored the Glazers’ takeover and Ferguson continued to deliver on the pitch by primarily putting his faith in young players. In contrast, a lot of United’s domestic rivals seemed to dismiss managers on a whim and money was no object. United were something to be admired, yet twelve months later they seem no different from their peers.

While there has been a lot of commentary over the last couple of days about Moyes’ communications gaffes, whether it was with media or his players (this article by Simon Kuper in the FT probably sums them up best for me), his statement after his dismissal was full of class.

In contrast to the obvious briefing by insiders, the lack of support by his club in the face of all the rumours, and the schoolyard gossip coming out from the dressing room, Moyes’ statement reflected his integrity. I’ve included his comments from the LMA statement at the bottom of this post.

Standing back, I’m left to wonder what the club hierarchy’s objective was in terms of how Moyes’ sacking was handled. From a reputational perspective, I’m mystified as to how anyone could think it would reflect well on the club. Yes his appointment now appears to have been a mistake, but the only benefit for insiders going behind the manager’s back to the press could only seem to be to deflect attention from the Glazers. All the people who were paraded out in support of Moyes around his appointment were now nowhere to be seen.

Oliver Holt has written the best column summarising how the club has now permanently lost part of their identity. If you’re reading this post, Holt’s piece is a must read.

Quoting Gary Neville, Holt writes:

We look at football management and think of it as being a world of madness, an absolute world of madness, where the average manager gets sacked every 12 months. I’ve always felt that Manchester United should be different and hold itself up as a club that basically stands against what is happening in the game,”

Before adding his comment:

We know now that the idea of dynasty at United started and finished with Ferguson.”

Now the club is left trying to spin about how they will bring in a world class manager, but with limited options it doesn’t look like they will be able to bring in the type of star studded name to match the brand. Sure enough the gains made on the stock market have quickly dissipated as shares closed 5.3% down today after a 6% rise yesterday. It looks like the investment community doesn’t believe the hype.

The world of football never fails to surprise and this week is no different. Naively I obviously thought United were different, but reality has coming crashing home today. In the words of Alex Ferguson, “Football…Bloody hell!

David Moyes statement:

“To have been appointed as manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, was and remains something of which I will always be incredibly proud.

Taking charge after such a long period of continuous stability and success at the club was inevitably going to be a significant challenge, but it was one which I relished and never had a second thought about taking on.

The scale of the manager’s job at United is immense, but I have never stepped away from hard work and the same applies to my coaching staff. I thank them for their dedication and loyalty throughout the last season.

We were fully focused and committed to the process of the fundamental rebuilding that is required for the senior squad. This had to be achieved whilst delivering positive results in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League. However, during this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration.

In my short time at the club I have learnt what special places Old Trafford and Carrington are. I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future.

I have always believed that a manager never stops learning during his career and I know I will take invaluable experience from my time as United’s manager. I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter finals of this year’s Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for believing in my ability and giving me the chance to manage Manchester United.”

Anja Niedringhaus RIP

This is a wonderful video tribute to Anja Niedringhaus, the AP photographer killed in Afghanistan.

Piaras Kelly
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