Brit Awards PR company tells journalists what to write. Amazingly, it didn’t work.

Music FestivalIt’s the Brit awards tonight, an event that will undoubtedly be accompanied by huge amounts of social media chat, red carpet clips, and coverage in the papers. No wonder that PRs will want everything to be just right.

House PR took this a bit far though, emailing journalists to tweet and write about the event sponsor Mastercard as part of their conditions for accreditation. Unsurprisingly, this backfired spectacularly.

One of the journalists that got the PR demands was Tim Walker, writer of the Telegraph’s acerbic Mandrake column. Instead of agreeing to the demands of House PR, he leaked them to the Press Gazette, and tweeted about it.

 

The demands included suggested tweets, a request to live tweet the event, pictures to included the Mastercard logo, and a request for prominence on the newspaper websites. After leaking the story, Walker has not had his car to tonight’s awards confirmed.

 

The incident is both a huge lesson in modern PR, and a question of journalistic ethics. That this is a disaster for House PR, Mastercard, and the Brits is obvious. People working with such big clients surely should no better than to try and tell experienced journalists what to tweet and what copy to file. What is more, without Walker’s whistleblowing, how many journalists would have excitingly gone along to the Brits, happily tweeting the given PR lines with their readers none the wiser. Sadly, I would guess quite a few…

Now, of course, the whole thing has completely backfired. as the story has got around and surely nobody will tweet the PR lines. Mastercard cannot be very happy with how the situation has panned out.

 

Brit awards ticket? £70. Journalistic integrity? Priceless.