Weekly Wrap 171: Writing to a realistic schedule

Screenshot of email, reading: "Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers."“They say, it’s all in content. I say, it’s all in the pitch,” said the PR operative — who shall remain nameless — who sent me the email you may see in the screenshot.

“Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers,” was all they needed to add to the generic invitation to grab my attention — though in my defence, the invitation was to an event that was well within my realms of interest, and I probably would’ve gone anyway.

I’m more than happy to attend relevant events even when there aren’t drinks. I also go to events that I’m not necessarily personally interested in, but which I know I’ll be able to turn into saleable media objects.

But it was that little personal touch that caused me to spend that extra moment to read the whole thing and agree, yes, this was something I wanted to go to.

That personal touch wasn’t really about a shared like of alcohol, though the unnamed PR operative and I agree that when we meet for drinks we’re just two people sharing a drink and confidences stay confidential.

It’s more that they knew my work, and knew that I’d get value out of this event — and because they do this sparingly, it stands out from the dozens and dozens of of PR emails I receive every day.

So here’s my week Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September 2013. I may or may not explain why this post is so late tomorrow.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

We’re already well into it, obviously. But to catch up quickly, the Tokyo trip was scratched and instead I’m now in Sydney Wednesday through Friday. On Wednesday I’ve got errands, a lunchtime briefing by IBM and then a meeting over at Randwick, and the rest is still being mapped out.

I’ll pick up the Twitter feed tomorrow.

McDonald’s pranked with second fake memo

Reddit listing of second fake McDonald's memo

The supposed leaked memo from McDonald’s that I wrote about on Saturday is itself a fake.

The memo, which like the original fake by serial prankster David Thorne was posted on Reddit, purported to be an email from McDonald’s Australia’s Corporate Communications Manager Bronwyn Stubbs outlining their response.

Someone also attempted to post the text of the memo as a comment to my original post.

However Stubbs emailed me yesterday to say it’s a forgery.

The Purported McDonald’s Memo that you include as part of the article is based on a piece of internal communication that I sent out to my colleagues, however, it has been doctored and changed in various places. Most particularly the final paragraph regarding David Thorne has been completely made up.

That made-up paragraph read:

According to recent news articles and other information we have been provided, the fabricated letter was created by an Adelaide man named David Thorne. At no time should any member of McDonald’s mention the name David Thorne to any media representative. We have spoken to police and are in the process of filing charges against Thorne. We are also speaking with legal regarding a possible law suit. At no time should any member of McDonald’s contact Mr Thorne or engage in any correspondence with him. Should Mr Thorne contact you in any way please let me know immediately or forward any emails.

This certainly kills our speculation as to why someone at McDonald’s would have leaked this memo — they didn’t.

The question now becomes who posted this fake memo, and why? If we’re talking opportunity and motive, well, anyone on the entire Internet has opportunity. Motive? How about a certain prankster seeking attention for his book?

Bugger. I just linked to it myself.

Another question is how businesses can respond to fakery like this, particularly when it’s a brand which people already love to hate.

Is McDonald’s doing comment spam now?

[Update 20 October 2009: It turns out this new purported McDonald’s memo is itself a fake. The comment spam attempt was not from McDonald’s.]

Fake McDonald's memo: click to embiggen

Well-known burger-tossers McDonald’s would be pissed off about that fake email tarnishing their reputation, and understandably so. But are they now responding with unethical tactics?

I don’t know. But here’s my little bit of evidence, and maybe The Power of Crowdsourcing [read: “expecting everyone else to do your work for you”] can fill in the gaps.

  1. A document purporting to be a leaked internal memo outlining McDonald’s response policy, and claiming they’re taking legal action against prankster David Thorne, was posted on Reddit — which happens to be where Thorne promoted the original fake memo. The account used to post this new memo, the oh-so-revealing 9911882882288, was created at that time and this is their only post. I’ve included the full text of the purported memo below.
  2. This morning someone tried to post a comment here which was merely a copy and paste of that same memo. They used a clearly false email address, which is presumably what caused their comment to be tagged as potential spam, and an Apple Mac running Safari sitting on an IP address on the Hutchison 3 mobile network.

This strikes me as rather curious.

Since McDonald’s is the big fast food chain that haters of big fast food chains love to hate, I don’t see that many anonymous bystanders rushing to its defence. Something in my waters says this is more likely to be someone acting on McDonald’s behalf — but that’s just a gut feeling.

And since McDonald’s is a big company, presumably they have a big respectable PR firm too.

So why, therefore, the anonymity?

The Public Relations Institute of Australia’s Code of Ethics talks about “dealing honestly”, which in my books means identifying yourself — although I’ll admit I’m hazy on how the PRIA itself would interpret that.

Has anyone else had someone attempt to post this memo as a comment? Is anyone seeing McDonald’s posting official comments in their own name?

And what do you make of the fact that prankster David Thorne works for a design agency which lists McDonald’s as a client?

Continue reading “Is McDonald’s doing comment spam now?”

Links for 28 August 2009 through 09 September 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 28 August 2009 through 09 September 2009, gathered automatically and then forgotten until today: