“The Last Nail in the Coughing”; “May’s Day May’s Day!”; “May Taps Out at Full Nelson”, “May’s Big F Off” should have read today’s headlines, if subs still had a twinkle in their eye.
Theresa May’s speech tells us it’s not always about ‘the content’, as we in PR like to believe. After all, there were some reasonable policy announcements that should have been the focus of the microscope: opt out donor system – a huge win for common sense, housing and mental health, among others.
But no, from a PR’s perspective, May’s speech won’t be remembered for the content and it’s not the content being analysed, it’ll be remembered in different ways by different people: calamitous, shambolic, stoic or brave. But I’ll remember it for one thing: shit luck.
Now don’t get me wrong, you do, to a fair degree, make your own luck. if you plan badly by having poor media accreditation, an events company that can literally F off, and no Thermos of hot lemon and honey when you’ve got a rotten cold, then bad things are going to happen… but there’s more than a tinge of bad luck to all of these.
Even the PR greats will remember some event where their luck ran out: a client still on mic; a gust of wind destroying a set; a press release sent informing media of your client’s ‘impotent’ new service.
For me (I’m not putting myself in their category just yet) it was in the days before every brand had a website and before people replaced phone calls with emails. Having taken a ridiculously brief brief on a call the week before, and creating some of the finest PR ideas never to see the light of day, I was pitching to a PR agency regarding their client ‘Kung Fu GK’. Kung Fu GK was the member body responsible for promoting the health benefits of Kung Fu in the UK… ten minutes into my ideas, I was stopped and told “our client is Canned Food UK”.
So what can we learn from May’s speech in the comms industry? Well, plan, of course, but we’re hopefully already doing that fairly well. So if not planning then what? Well, nothing… sometimes your luck is just shit.