Mark’s view

Whenever the news agenda hits hysteria point, Mark offers thoughtful analysis, a wry point of view and an insider’s insight
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Latest ‘MARK MY WORDS’ Blog Posts

  • Bots v scoops: What Rudd-gate tells us about media influence

    Influence is a tricky one to measure. The word itself derives from the Latin influentia, meaning an influx. Influence flows out, imperceptibly, and its effects are more qualitative than quantitative. Take the Sunday Times’s big splash this week revealing findings from its investigation into Labour’s dominance on twitter during the 2017 election. According to research from Swansea […]

  • Forget the hastags #Bots #CambridgeAnalytica #Russian #trolls #darkforces #Socialmedia #disruption

    Forget the hastags #Bots #CambridgeAnalytica #Russian #trolls #darkforces #Socialmedia #disruption  What we see from Rudd’s downfall is that the agenda is still being set by the reporting of traditional media turbo charged by established opinion-formers.

  • Last Orders on Social Media? 

    The price of a J D Wetherspoon pint will be the cheapest within a ten minute walk of where you’re stood. Whether or not this adage is entirely true, the pub chain has created a brand of cheap-and-cheerfulness that has have left its competition in the gutter. Could this partly account for why its chairman […]

  • From Zuckerberg to Sorrell: when the CEO is hung out to dry 

    It’s lonely at the top. The modern CEO is expected to have a voice, to articulate values and, most importantly, be available. Yet there is little to prepare even the most media savvy executive for dealing with crisis once the internal support network begins to turn on you, with many boards happy to see leaders […]

  • Are we really brave enough to unplug from the Social Matrix?

    With all due respect to the excellent investigative journalism that exposed the large-scale data harvesting by Cambridge Analytica  – it will not bring down Facebook. Commentators were quick to point to share price volatility and hashtag protests as indicators of doom. The social network has indeed been slow to ventilate the stench surrounding its relationship to […]

  • Theresa to Vlad: Thin lines between playing tough and losing your shit 

    When Margaret Thatcher launched a task force to retake the Falklands from Argentine forces, her message was simple: she was defending the rights of the islanders to self-determination. In 1982, after years of domestic inertia, economic stagnation and government infighting, the British public endorsed this decisive act- and it won her a landslide reelection a […]

  • Controversy PR: how brands cash in on the offence economy

    It shouldn’t surprise us that brands have attempted to make money from outrage. The opposite of virtue is not Vice. It’s the Daily Mail. This week, Centre Parcs announced that it would be joining an increasing number of brands – Lego, Paperchase, the Southbank Centre – who have chosen to stop advertising in the newspaper. […]

  • The Cheryl and Liam Show

    Are they, aren’t they? Will they, won¹t they separate? Forget the TV soaps. This week has been all about the Cheryl and Liam. Earlier in the week the Sun¹s showbiz guru Dan Wootton broke the story that the showbiz couple were about to split. According to his scoop, the dynamic duo were struggling to keep […]

  • The art of controversial PR

    Even in his lifetime the work of John Williams Waterhouse rarely made much of a stir in the art world. He is often classed as a pre-Raphaelite although he was painting his scenes of Arthurian chic long after the brotherhood were fashionable. Nobody would have noticed the sudden removal from display of his work Hylas […]

  • Pay attention to the present and decode its value

    Pinned under the duvet; smothered with decongestant, comforted by the warm embrace of Night Nurse; I’ve suffered a rather tedious week. Although I’ve been struck down by a particularly nasty, industrial strength man flu virus, I’ve had sometime, to catch up on a couple of interesting talking points. Firstly the Ad Contrarium is an important […]

  • Why the Presidents Club Ball Fiasco Really Should Be A Watershed Moment

    The Presidents Club ball narrative, fittingly, is still high on the news agenda. Hourly, we hear many correctly de-cry the event as appalling, shameful, disgusting and deplorable. Great Ormond Street Hospital, which received £530,000 from the Presidents Club between 2009 and 2016, said it will return the donations. The “most read” story in The Financial […]

  • PR scum are human too.

    You might have missed the kerfuffle recently between the highly respected theatre critic, Lyn Gardner and Cirque Du Soleil. There was much debate about the Circus taking steps to stop the critic reviewing their new production. Evidently Ms Gardner found out she was uninvited from a press night. She had been approved to review the […]

  • Toxic Twitter Promotes The Future Moron

    Speed kills. This week the velocity of the news agenda has been shaped by various narratives driven by the telegraph wire of Twitter. From Logan Paul to Toby Young, the week’s anguish proves that it’s a deafening noise that drowns out something more profound and enlightened, ideas and insight.  Each incident provoked angst, each instance […]

  • Real News Strikes Back: 18 Stories In PR And The Media To Look Out For In 2018

    1. Real News will strike back in 2018 and is already doing so. The New York Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal are all now making real money digitally and print circulations remain significant. The same goes for titles ranging from the i to Private Eye and a resurgent, Jeff-Bezos-owned Washington Post. The Times […]

  • The Twitterarti hands Poundland a gift for Christmas.

    So the world is talking about a cheeky Poundland Elf tea bagging Barbie. Well I say the world, or at least  8.6 million Twitter users in the UK,  anyway the filter bubble is frothing and jumping up and down. Perhaps we shouldn’t forget the UK population is 66+ million – by my estimate thats still […]

  • The Real Master of Hype

    For all those venturing out this Christmas to see Hugh Jackman’s “The Greatest Showman” here is my view on the real Phineas Emperor of Hype I’ve often been asked about my fantasy dinner party guests from history. It’s a fluctuating list, but one man always comes out on top; the great American Showman PT Barnum. […]

  • Relevance can’t be faked, but agility can be learned

    We all knew Meghan Markle was coming and that she was going to be news. But as Prince Harry’s new fianceé admitted herself in that joyful interview, even she didn’t quite realise how huge. If ever a news story coincided with the zeitgeist and had a perfect symbol, Meghan is it. Her official arrival this […]

  • To delete, or not to delete? That is the question

    Of course, my filter bubble matters. Some argue it’s a world that matters most to me and it’s true that it shifts daily, shaping my views and an ethereal existence in my head. The barrage of information I consume is vast and instant. Nevertheless, I constantly check to consider how it shapes my perception and experience […]

  • Paradise Papers – winners and losers

    Increasingly it seems the rich have a dilemma. When does the reputational damage incurred by being hauled across the coals for using tax havens outweigh the financial benefits? Granted, siphoning wealth through a Maltese bank to buy a Lithuanian shopping mall isn’t exactly John le Carre levels of sinister. But when it happens to Bono […]

  • Trump’s mastery is selling doubt

    Where were you on the day Donald J Trump released not quite all of the classified files on the JFK? It does not take a mind riven by conspiratorial angst to suspect that the president’s championing of the scheduled release of the million-plus page report on Kennedy’s assassination is a distraction tactic. But what from? […]