Posts Tagged ‘Russell Brand’

Russell Brand values hit Newsnight

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 by Jon Clements


Two years ago, the trajectory of comedian Russell Brand’s star at the BBC fell quicker than a sky diver with an unopened parachute.

Today, he’s considered significantly newsworthy to be the main interview on Newsnight, the BBC’s “flagship news and current affairs programme, noted for its in-depth analysis and often robust cross-examination of senior politicians.”

Exhibit one: what exactly was Russell Brand doing on Newsnight being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman? Yes, he’s got a new book out; yes, he was in a recent airport punch-up with a Paparrazzo, defending his pop star girlfriend, Katy Perry’s dignity. But surely this shouldn’t trouble the media beyond the showbiz correspondents?

In her intro to the item, Newsnight presenter, Emily Maitlis, flashed back to the Brand/Ross/Sachs saga as “an extraordinary piece of media history”. Well, histrionic, maybe, but Frost/Nixon it wasn’t.

In fact, the most notable legacy left by Brand is a compliance document drafted by the BBC for programme makers  aimed at preventing any further broadcasting falls from grace.

In placing Brand centre stage where you’d normally expect to find senior politicians, is this the BBC trying to reel in a new audience cruising channels on a Friday night or simply plug the gap left by the demise of the celebrity-driven Jonathan Ross show, leaving several million viewers wondering what to watch?

It’s certainly an interesting move by Newsnight to go after a younger audience and, potentially, shepherd them into other late night BBC2 viewing rather than flicking over to crime drama, stand-up comedy or Family Guy.

Though quite what they’d make of The Review Show, with – for instance – playwright Bonnie Greer dissecting the technical intricacies of the latest great American novel by Jonathan Franzen is another matter.

Television viewing feels more and more akin to the online experience, where consumption tastes are “channel agnostic” or “channel neutral” as argued here and people will follow the content they want, regardless of where it might be found.

In that case, Brand/Paxman is the BBC2 equivalent of “link bait”; luring fans of the comedian’s inane, if endearing, ramblings into “television of real substance”, or at least until they notice it’s Lee Evans live on ITV1.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Did the Social Web ‘do’ for Ross & Brand?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Rob Brown

For me there are two fascinating questions about the Brand and Ross debacle.  Why did they put out the show with the item in when it wasn’t live and why did the furore gather so much momentum in such a short time over a week after the broadcast?

Why was it broadcast?  Any fool could have guessed there would be an issue and there were some very experienced heads in the approval chain.  I believe that the reason for broadcasting may lie in the fact that by recording the messages on an answer machine the comments were already potentially in the public domain.   With the social web anyone can publish and Ross and Brand realised that.  By not broadcasting they would have acknowledged fault and the recording could still reach the public via the web.  The evidence might be there is in their comments in the a part of the programme that was edited out of the final broadcast: 

Ross: “let’s both put on striped t-shirts and break into his house, merely to delete the answerphone message – let’s see what happens. What could go wrong?” 

Brand:  “Nothing, literally, nothing could go wrong as we smash our way into Andrew Sachs’s house”

Ross: “break in like cat burglars tonight when he’s in bed”

Brand: “yes while he sleeps”

They must have felt that they had escaped censure when a week went by with no outcry but the press got hold of the story when Andrew Sachs complained.  It might have ended there but for the intervention of the social web once more.  The recording appeared on YouTube and there have been a million hits – somewhat more than the average listenership for Brand’s show.  As the hits on YouTube went up so did the complaints.  A week after the show went out there were just 69 complaints to the BBC at the last count there were more than 30,000.  A coincidence?  I doubt it.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

In with the in-crowd

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

As “Sachs-Gate” rises up the BBC hierarchy, the whole Brand/Ross furore has been an instructive lesson in crowd psychology and crisis management.

On the first point, by yesterday morning 18,000 people had complained about the offending broadcast on Russell Brand’s show. By last night, when both presenters had already been suspended and Brand, ultimately, resigned, another 11,000 had added their ire. Why? And how many of them had heard the actual radio item?

Thanks to Wise Geek for the science bit, it might be something to do with “individuals adapting to the expectations of the surrounding culture…in order to identify with the crowd”. A bit of shared experience or, in this case, a collective moan. It’s certainly a phenomenon that’s playing out in social media situations and shows how a poor response to a crisis can escalate.

It took the BBC from Sunday, when the story broke, to yesterday for the Corporation to act decisively. A Sun journalist I spoke to last night suggested it was the worst example of crisis comms he’d seen. If the BBC had apologised and suspended them both straight away, he felt, the story would have died and each presenter could have carried on as before, though probably wiser to the boundaries of public taste.

The old wag, John Cleese – no stranger to media controversy affecting comedians – says in today’s Times: “It’s important to hire people with enough taste to censor  themselves. I thought Jonathan Ross had that.”

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Brand Devaluation

Monday, October 27th, 2008 by Rob Brown

   

Against my better judgement I listened to the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand radio debacle, not on the radio you understand but on Youtube.  To put this in context I should say that the Jonathan Ross show on Friday night is one of my few ‘appointments to view’ on tv these days.  I’m not a big fan of Russell Brand – he’s very clever, I like reading his column in The Guardian but I find him almost impossible to listen to. 

If  you are new to this story, on Brand’s Radio 2 Saturday night show, Ross and Brand left a string of offensive answerphone messages for 78-year-old Fawlty Towers star, Andrew Sachs.  They claimed, using slightly more direct language, Brand had slept with Mr Sachs’ 23-year-old granddaughter.What I heard of the excerpts from Brand’s radio show was not what I’d expected.  We expect the f-word from both Ross and Brand and that’s fine, we want sharpness but what I heard was akin to bullying.  What was really embarrassing was that it sounded very much like they were trying to outdo each other in terms of shock value.   It felt very much like Ross (47) was trying too hard to hold onto his crown as the emperor of edge and that’s just well…not at all cool. 

We want Jonathan Ross to be cool.  That’s part of his brand and we all pay a lot of money for it and I’m not sure I want to any more.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).