Saturday, 4 February 2012

Inside PR and Corporate Communications - Part 2

Life Imitates Art
A guest post by Submariner

Consider. In The Thick Of It, the ineffectual DoSAC head of media relations, Terri Coverley, had been recruited from a popular retailer in an attempt to make government more business-like. She was out of place, a transplant, and struggled with the transition.

But more recently the flow in the real world has been the other way. Political spinners have been whirring out of the Westminster mother ship and planting their seeds in the nation’s commercial boardrooms. They may come from Tucker’s other-worldly culture but their influence in more earthly businesses is now firmly cemented.

Just before Christmas, ASDA, a business which used to have its feet on the ground, hired Sian Jarvis, until recently top spin doctor at the Department of Health, to open doors in government and keep the media in their place.

Later this month Abbie Sampson, ex DEFRA, DfT, Gordon Brown adviser and currently Number 10's chief press officer, will become head of news at Which?

Also in February Tesco, which has long liked to be scarier and shoutier than anyone else, will make room in its nest for Ruth McAllister, a current Number 10 press officer.

Tesco was an early pioneer of the Tucker approach. The company’s Alien Queen of Spin is Lucy Neville-Rolfe. Before pitching up at Tesco she did the lot in the Westminster village: DEFRA, DTI, Cabinet Office, Number 10. And she has established a fully-functioning hive. McAllister will be jostling for elbow room with previous Number 10 veterans: news manager Tom Hoskin,  Tony Blair's former private secretary David North, and Blair’s former head of events Victoria Gould
Tesco plays the PR and politics games the Tucker way. For them, it’s not enough to win. The other side has to lose, and lose badly. Tesco’s campaign machinery for imposing vast new colonies stores upon the peasantry has been brutally effective over the last 15 years, but some time over the last decade they smashed the office mugs and retired the mouse-mats with “Every Little Helps” and went instead with "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair"

Yesterday - Part 1  A Tucker of your own

Tomorrow - Part 3  Corporate Complications

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