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Posts Tagged ‘Bell Pottinger’

Fracking Debate Hits Close to Home for British PR Firm

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Protesters opposed to the process of “fracking”, or extracting natural gas and oil from shale via hydraulic water-powered fracturing, super-glued themselves to the walls of British firm Bell Pottinger‘s office while calling them “fracking liars.”

These activists believe that the British government should invest in renewable resources rather than expanding upon its fracking practices, and they’ve targeted the large, privately owned energy company Cuadrilla as a recipient of prime minister David Cameron‘s largesse. In addition to the aforementioned appearance at Bell Pottinger, protestors also chained themselves together to block entrance to the company’s rural production center.

Lord Browne (his real name), former BP chief and current head of Cuadrilla, defended his company’s practices to reporters at The Sunday Telegraph by insisting that fracking is “in the UK’s interest” when performed safely.

Something tells us the protesters weren’t listening.

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PRs, Media Help Assad Efforts to Improve Image

Brown Lloyd James was paid $5,000 per month to help the wife of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Asma, get a profile in Vogue magazine (left) that talked up her fashion sense and international lifestyle. The article has since been almost entirely removed from the Web as though it were never written. EIC Anna Wintour has said in a statement that there were hopes Syria’s regime would be an open one but now they see that’s not so.

“The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms,” the statement says.

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Bell Pottinger Founders Buying Firm from Chime

Bell Pottinger founders Lord Bell and Piers Pottinger (also the names of my neighbor’s cats!) and other firm execs plan to pay £19.6 million in cash and company shares to purchase the namesake firm from Chime Communications. Shareholders will have their say on June 18. Talk about a buyout started a few months ago.

Shares of Chime stock increased nearly 10 percent with the news, though Sir Martin Sorrell, the WPP CEO whose company is the largest shareholder in Chime, is opposed.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

The Telegraph is reporting that Pippa Middleton, sassy sis to the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, has consulted with David Wynne-Morgan about protecting and repairing her reputation. Wynne-Morgan is a consultant with Bell Pottinger. Middleton ran into trouble recently when she was seen with a man police thought was brandishing a gun while she was in Paris for a  party. Word is Pippa is thinking of moving to New York  since she’ll be here promoting a book.

Sur La Table, which sells all things cooking-related, has chosen M Booth as its AOR. The 40-year-old store is seeking more media coverage and brand recognition. M Booth SVP Jennifer Teitler will lead strategy on the account.

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Research: Many Wikipedia Entries Have Errors, PRs Can’t Do Much About It

Marcia DiStaso, assistant professor of PR at the College of Communications at Penn State University, surveyed 1,300 PR pros and they say 60 percent of Wikipedia entries contain errors about their clients. And because of rules against PRs editing Wikipedia articles, the errors can remain published for an indefinite amount of time.

According to information we received via email, DiStaso has been conducting Wikipedia research since 2006 and gathered responses from PR pros across agencies, nonprofit organizations, companies, and other groups. She told ABC News that PRs are only allowed to leave comments and wait for a public response. Ideally, Wikipedia guidelines say that should happen within five days. But nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) say they never heard back. More than half of respondents thought the rules should be changed.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

Kraft has chosen Bell Pottinger for a “seven-figure assignment” that will raise awareness of the company’s global snacks unit in Europe, once that division is spun off. The firm will work on building corporate awareness and building relationships with NGOs, government members, and the media. The search included five agencies, according to the Holmes Report.

Phonak, makers and distributors of hearing aids and other devices, has chosen Ketchum as the AOR for the company’s U.S. division. The firm will work to raise awareness of hearing loss, the need for the hearing impaired to seek medical attention, and the company’s Hear the World Foundation. The account will be handled out of Ketchum’s Chicago office, which is near Phonak’s HQ.

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Talk of Bell Pottinger Buyout

Lord Tim Bell

The Financial Times is reporting that the Lord Bell and the Piers Pottinger are looking into the buyout possibilities for their firm, the Bell Pottinger, which they founded in the 1980s.

Bell Pottinger is big time in the U.K. though it recently made major headlines for footage of agency execs making unethical offerings to journalists posing as potential clients.

The FT says PR is a large but slow-growing business for Chime Communications, Bell Pottinger’s parent company. The Holmes Report says fee income for the Bell Pottinger Group (which operates as Chime’s PR division) were £68 million in 2010. Talks are in the early stages.

PR Associations, British Government React to Bell Pottinger Scandal

Lord Bell

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the U.K.’s “advocate and voice of the public relations profession,” came out with its response to the Bell Pottinger scandal that unfolded (on video!) last week.

In a post on the CIPR Conversation blog, the CEO of the organization Jane Wilson said comments on the video show “poor judgment,” were “over-claiming” or “ill-informed,” and said PR can only be “seen as a strategic, senior management discipline” when “incidents such as this are a thing of the past.”

At the same time, Wilson defends PR and lobbying, saying that, as a former MP, Tim Collins, head of public affairs at the firm, would have strong government connections, and using them is something that other organizations, like philanthropic groups, do. Talking about the coverage in The Independent, Wilson writes, “There is a lot of what appears to be wilful misunderstanding or fake outrage at the use of what are in fact open and above board communications channels.”

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U.K.’s Bell Pottinger Caught On Video Offering its ‘Dark Arts’

Bell Pottinger MD Tim Collins was one of the execs caught on video.

U.K. lobbying firm Bell Pottinger is coming under fire for comments staffers made on a video gathered by journalists posing as reps from the government of Uzbekistan.

Reporters from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism posed as the reps to capture the execs talking up their relationships with government officials, including Prime Minister David Cameron, discussing how they use “dark arts” like fake blogs to bury stories online, and the work they’ve done with other countries like Sri Lanka that have been charged with human rights violations. Uzbekistan has a reputation for child labor and other human rights violations as well.

Since the story came to light, the firm has also become embroiled with the phone hacking scandal with news that Bell Pottinger advised Rebekah Brooks on which police station she should go to for questioning, suggesting she avoid those that give too much access to the media.

You can watch the video here.

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Trouble for London PR Firms With Controversial International Ties

Anti-government protesters at Sanaa University in Yemen. Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad

A number of London’s PR firms, including Bell Pottinger, the biggest in Britain, have come under fire for representing controversial clients, the London Evening Standard reports. In the case of Bell Pottinger, its client list includes the Egyptian Ministry of Information, the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, and it once worked with the Yemeni government.

“No amount of media harassment or sensationalism is going to stop me representing clients that have a legitimate right to tell their story,” Lord Bell, head of the firm and former comms adviser to Margaret Thatcher tells the paper.
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