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Playing the blame game

Messaging is a much misunderstood term in PR. Sometimes mistaken for crafting an elegant lie, it should be seen more as a means of succinctly expressing a convincing truth.

It’s not as easy as it looks, collating the input of many stakeholders and considering the agenda of both the intermediary messenger (often the media) and the final audience (customer, consumer etc).

Fundamentally though, the truth is the guiding principle and sometimes, to use an inelegant expression coined by my first boss: you can’t polish a turd.

In so many cases crises and issues are a fault of leadership and sometimes you have to fess up – blaming other people or circumstances beyond your control always make the matter worse.

The irony that a media owner has made this fundamental mistake did make me chuckle over my cornflakes this weekend. Cycling Weekly printed a picture of a female cyclist with the “idiotic” caption that described her as a “Token Attractive Woman”.

Simon Richardson the magazine’s editor, apologised for the caption. “Unfortunately during the magazine’s production process a member of the magazine’s sub-editing team decided to write an idiotic caption of one of the female riders”, he said. “In the rush to get the magazine finished, it was missed by other team members and sent to print.”

Let’s unpick that
1. It’s not my fault, it’s my underlings
2. I run a disorganised team and my quality control is poor
3. Just in case you were wondering it absolutely wasn’t my fault

So he cocked up. It’s not that hard to craft is it?!


We work hard to create great work for you. If you’re happy, we’re happy, but awards are the icing on the cake!

  • PRCA Dare Awards 2016

    Best Integrated Campaign

  • Northern Marketing Awards 2016

    Best Small Agency

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    Best Agency

  • PR Week 2016

    Top UK 150 Agencies

  • CIM Northern Awards 2015

    Northern Agency of the Year

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    Consumer PR Agency of the Year

  • CIPR PRide Awards Yorkshire & Lincolnshire 2014

    Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy

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    Consumer Relations Campaign