Why PR needs to be at the heart of your marketing planning
I had another face palm moment this week on seeing the latest World Cup-inspired marketing campaign by Mastercard. The concept? Every time Lionel Messi or Neymar Jr score a goal at the tournament, Mastercard will feed 10,000 hungry children.
That no one in the approvals process apparently considered how distasteful it would be that the world's poorest children's could be praying a multi-millionaire footballer scores a goal so they can eat that day, smacks of a big problem in marketing.
A seasoned PR would have anticipated the Mastercard 'hunger games' headlines, they'd have pointed out Co-op's ad could backfire in today's 'everyday sexism' climate, or shown why Pepsi's 'Kendall Jenner brings peace to the protest' moment was completely tone deaf and would spark a huge backlash.
PRs are attuned to this because we deal day in day out with journalist scepticism and are used to interrogating every idea through this lens. This questioning mindset is in our DNA, meaning we tend to identify the problem and avoid it before it arises.
Too many campaigns like the ones mentioned above are missing this essential PR sense check.
But as agencies become more integrated and social media puts brands in the firing line like never before, it has never been more important that the PR voice in the room is not lost.