When 1500m winner, Michael McKillop accepted his gold medal from his mum during the Paralympic Games at London 2012 it was a world first. Catherine McKillop emerging from the tunnel on that night in September 2012 was something the sporting world had never seen. P&G’s Proud Sponsor of Mums campaign made this world first happen and now this moment has been awarded another world first. FleishmanHillard Dublin has won bronze at the Cannes Lion PR Awards for Creativity, the Olympic Games of the communications industry.
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The global scientific community was left reeling this week by an Italian court’s decision to sentence a group of six seismologists to six years in jail for providing false assurances to the public prior to the earthquake that hit the town of L’Aquila in 2009. Judge Marco Billi’s ruling has provoked fear and suggests a dangerous precedent in Italy for scientists involved in hazard prediction. Good science has always involved itself in open rigorous debate. If scientists can’t express their opinions for fear of ending up in a court room, what implications will this have for fostering a culture that respects and invests in science?
The most inspiring statistic that I have learned in relation to the Olympics is that of the 70,000 volunteers trained by the Olympic Organising Committee, only four per cent dropped out before the games began. The expectation was that there would be a 20-30 per cent attrition rate. Each volunteer was given one responsibility to perform and many jobs required staff to be outside the arenas for up to seven hours without the opportunity to see any of the action.
Corporate success is measured in terms of growth. Our clients, no matter what sector they operate in, know that in this fragile economy, growth can edge them ahead of their competition. The question for CEOs is how to generate growth? Attractive mergers and acquisitions targets are scarce, the rapid globalisation of the last twenty years has reduced the number of untapped geographic opportunities and funding is hard to find. The answer may well be found in a company’s current customer base.
While watching a YouTube clip of a presentation given by the late American writer Kurt Vonnegut in 2005 I was struck by the simplicity of effective story telling. For his presentation Vonnegut presented his audience with a blank blackboard onto which he drew two lines; a G-I axis: good fortune-ill fortune and a B-E axis: B for beginning, E for end. He also explained that the average human experience lay somewhere in the middle and that the majority of stories can be represented by drawing a line between the two. What was most impressive about the presentation was that as he started to draw a line his audience could guess the story he was referring to. From Cinderella to Hamlet the stories were represented through the simple graph on the blackboard.
What this shows is the simplistic beauty of a compelling story. As PR professionals, working across many varying industries and sectors, we are challenged with telling our client’s story to an external audience in a manner that garners attention and interest. This can be an easy task when we are presented with fascinating raw material or a hard news angle but there are occasions when it is more challenging as there may not be an immediate news angle or the subject matter may be complex, turgid or specialised. The question is, how to make it compelling?
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
George Orwell (1903 – 1950), “Politics and the English Language”, 1946
Words are powerful and can be very damaging when used carelessly. They have the power to evoke potent emotions and they can help inspire, encourage and motivate people. They can transform the world that we live in and in a crisis they can be your strongest allies or your most damaging adversary.
Interesting perspective from Sports Business Newslines regarding sponsorship and the Rugby World Cup currently taking place in New Zealand. Could this be the last World Cup? Most unlikely you would have to say but something will have to be done to address the issues raised by the New Zealand Rugby Union Chief Executive, Steve Tew.
New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief executive Steve Tew has warned that the country’s participation in future editions of the Rugby World Cup could be under threat unless changes are made to the commercial structure of the tournament.
I’m just back from the 7th World Aging and Generations Congress at Sankt Gallen University, Switzerland. Listening to the various presentations I was particularly struck by the statement that two-thirds of all the people who ever reached the age of 65 are alive today. In fact by the year 2050 the number of people over the age of 60 will grow from 500 million today to 2 billion.
I recently had the pleasure of getting my hands on a ticket to the sold out Roger Waters’ performance of the iconic Pink Floyd album The Wall in the O2 Dublin. Given the hype and reviews that preceded the gig Waters had a lot to live up to. Coupled with the fact the album had last been toured in 1980 the crowd was expecting a great show. They were not disappointed! The awesome soundscape created was matched, if not surpassed, by a series of 3D mapped projections throughout the show.
The explosive growth of new consumer-driven online media in recent years has re-shaped the future of public relations. The range of new technology and online channels have given birth to a new public who has moved from being a passive consumer of controlled media (web 1.0) to that of a sharing media environment where anyone can be a news editor (web 2.0).