More sunlight on the dark arts

  • Voices
  • June 14, 2017
  • Carrick Graham
More sunlight on the dark arts

In a previous StopPress piece I outlined How to Counter ‘The Pit Strategy’.

The point of the post was to give sunlight to a side of PR that many fear to tread, but more importantly, how to counter the tactics. Some asked if there was a way to spot or counter these sorts of strategies. The short answer is yes. 

Time for more sunlight on tactics.

One trick of the trade is to use the Official Information Act (OIA) to create an issue which then grows into a problem for someone else. What begins as a simple, relatively innocuous request for information, suddenly has the potential to turn into a problem for say X company, if not managed well.

Here’s how it works.

An OIA is lodged with some regulatory agency tasked with the enforcement for a sector. The OIA asks if they have heard, or are aware, of any concerns about X company, alongside requesting some other information. In most cases, the regulator hasn’t heard of anything. But a seed has been planted.

Now the agency being targeted has a choice. It could easily dismiss the request, but just to be on the safe side, the person responsible for the OIA request will usually have had to ask someone else within the agency if they have heard anything about X company, usually by email. That little seed has now grown roots.

While this is taking place, a week or two later, another OIA request is lodged, this time with a Minister’s office, or if someone wants to be cunning, with several Minister’s offices that have corresponding portfolio responsibilities. This request is worded slightly differently, but it has a strategic intent – that is to create more questions, chatter and email traffic.

It is highly likely the Minister, or their staff, won’t have a clue about a complaint about X company. But working on the basis that staff may wonder why someone would bother asking about X company unless there is an issue with X company, and perhaps they (or the Minister) should be aware of it.

If they’re covering their bases, staffers will make some enquiries, and fire off an email to some government department asking if they heard of anything and is there anything that they (or their Minister) should be aware of re X company. As they have received a similar request they to start to wonder if X company has a problem. The seed now has been given fertiliser.

If a Minister’s office starts making enquiries to a government agency, the Chief Executives of that agency usually get told, there’s the odd phone call and more emails are generated, all of which has the effect of creating certain perceptions about X company.

Meanwhile, media contacts get tipped off that they’ve heard that the Government is asking questions about X company, and questions from a journalist could be interesting.

If the journalist makes enquiries, it adds a new dimension to the noise, and yet more emails are generated about X company. 

In cases like this, it’s time to invoke the ‘best defence is a good offence’ adage.

For a company, it needs to be aware of what is being said about it and engaging in the regulatory and political environments and to build up reputational goodwill.

If companies don’t shape their environments, there’s a chance that someone else will.

  • Carrick Graham is managing director of GMS Management Limited.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Rainger and Rolfe on five years of Rainger & Rolfe
features

Rainger and Rolfe on five years of Rainger & Rolfe

Last month, Rainger & Rolfe blew out five candles to top off what managing partner Ant Rainger is calling “the best year yet”. To find out why, StopPress sat down with Rainger and his managing partner Jen Rolfe to reflect on the last five years and what’s to come for the indie.

Ads of the Week: 11 December

  • TVC of the week
  • December 11, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Ads of the Week: 11 December

A round of applause for Lotto NZ, Auckland City Mission and Pak'n Save.

Read more

Creative Talk with Chris Hancock, Retail Dimension

  • Voices
  • December 11, 2018
  • The Creative Store
Creative Talk with Chris Hancock, Retail Dimension

Creative Talk is with Chris Hancock, General Manager Client Services at RD (Retail Dimension). We talk about the design team, their venture into Australia and how they tackle the mammoth projects.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and StopPress have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

topics
Follow The Money
Follow The Money
Follow the money. It’s an axiom that journalists have believed in for years and a ...
Regional Rundown
Regional Rundown
StopPress takes a trip down the country to see who the audiences and agencies are ...
Beyond the Page 2018
Beyond the Page 2018
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...

Top 10 websites 2018

  • Technology
  • December 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Top 10 websites 2018

Nielsen has released the sites visited by the most New Zealanders this year and it's no surprise Google and Facebook remain in the top two spots.

Read more

What's the difference between creativity and innovation?

  • Opinion
  • December 10, 2018
  • Mike Hutcheson
What's the difference between creativity and innovation?

Innovation and creativity are two terms that can tend to get muddled when it comes to talking about business. Advertising guru Mike Hutcheson explores the difference between the two.

Read more
voices
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best technology: Samsung Electronics NZ
news

TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best technology: Samsung Electronics NZ

After the global PR disaster of the failed Samsung Note 7, Samsung Electronics NZ's marketing team wanted to make sure it could communicate directly with customers, and not rely on third-party retailers. We take a look at this year's best technology.

Stuff partners with Māori Television and SkyKiwi

  • Media
  • December 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Stuff partners with Māori Television and SkyKiwi

Stuff is set to increase its coverage of stories that matter to Māori and the New Zealand Chinese community through content sharing agreements with Māori Television and SkyKiwi.

Read more

Ooh Media adds Adshel's assets to its offer

  • Advertising
  • December 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Ooh Media adds Adshel's assets to its offer

Adshel's assets are now being rebranded to Ooh Media, following the two companies merging earlier this year.

Read more

Radio New Zealand up year-on-year despite summer season drops

  • Radio
  • December 7, 2018
  • Caitlin Salter
Radio New Zealand up year-on-year despite summer season drops

Radio New Zealand has achieved year-on-year growth in the last GfK results for 2018 – despite the numbers dropping considerably from previous results this year. StopPress talked with RNZ head of radio and music David Allan about the year that was, and what’s to come in 2019.

Read more

Gray Matters: Operating an OOH business, the state of TV, mergers, #metoo and a breakfast beer

  • Voices
  • December 7, 2018
  • Graham Medcalf
Gray Matters: Operating an OOH business, the state of TV, mergers, #metoo and a breakfast beer
Image: Hallertau Brewery Facebook

Graham Medcalf takes a look at the week that was, covering the proposed merger of QMS Media and MediaWorks, TV viewing habits, JWT and Wunderman uniting, the #metoo movement's impact on advertising, and Kellogg’s teaming up with Hallertau to launch a beer.

Read more
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best public sector: Auckland Council
news

TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best public sector: Auckland Council

While Auckland’s beaches and harbours may look pristine, this isn’t always the case as contaminants can make their way into the water. So, Auckland Council launched a clever initiative to keep swimmers safe and informed. We take a look at this year's best public sector.

DDB named Spikes Asia New Zealand Agency of the Year

  • Advertising
  • December 6, 2018
  • StopPress Team
DDB named Spikes Asia New Zealand Agency of the Year

DDB New Zealand has been named the Spikes Asia New Zealand Agency of the Year.

Read more

Kiwi customer service through the eyes of new migrants

  • Opinion
  • December 6, 2018
  • Colleen Ryan
Kiwi customer service through the eyes of new migrants

TRA's Colleen Ryan looks at the importance of understanding the nuances of new migrants to New Zealand.

Read more

Top 10 television programmes 2018

  • Television
  • December 5, 2018
Top 10 television programmes 2018

News, sports and Hyundai Country Calendar remain at the top of New Zealanders' television viewing schedules – but the Royal Wedding in May wasn't far behind.

Read more

Lotto New Zealand creates joyful Christmas reunion

  • Advertising
  • December 5, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Lotto New Zealand creates joyful Christmas reunion

Lotto New Zealand has released a follow-up to its ‘Amoured Truck’ ad with characters Ray and Sateesh reunited in a Christmas surprise.

Read more
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2018 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit