Journalists react angrily on Twitter after a PR company representing Mastercard tells them to mention the company in their tweets from the Brit awards.
In an email sent to journalists requesting accreditation PRs asked them to agree to mention the marketing campaign #PricelessSurprise and @MasterCardUK in tweets “in return for these tickets”.
Please fellow journalists do not agree to the absurd conditions for covering @BRITAwards. I’ve even just been told what I should tweet. No.
— Tim Walker (@ThatTimWalker) February 18, 2014
Mastercard and Brit Awards go Soviet! hacks MUST Mention the sponsors in their reports or no press credentials! Vhttp://bit.ly/1fg6bYU
— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) February 19, 2014
They even go as far as suggesting tweets journalists could use: Really excited to be heading down to @BRITAwards tonight with @MasterCardUK #PricelessSurprises.
— Kosso (blims) (@blims) February 19, 2014
People are complaining that the MasterCard PR / Brit Awards thing has backfired. Really? Because I now see thousands of tweets about it.
— Oliver James (@Oliver__James) February 19, 2014
The PR company also asked journalists “to live tweet from the event including @MasterCardUK handle and #PricelessSurprises” and to “retweet @MasterCardUK tweets throughout the night where appropriate” and to “direct followers to @MasterCardUK BRITs YouTube videos”.
— Sarah (@S83bai) February 19, 2014
— Nic Fildes (@LovesickHank) February 19, 2014
Journalist Tim Walker, told Press Gazette: “A lot of people on Twitter aren’t all that up on journalistic ethics. The sad thing is that a lot of journalists now haven’t perhaps been up through local papers and may not realise that this sort of thing isn’t ethical.”
Ginny Paton, MD at House PR, who sent the email, told Channel News: “The role of the PR agency is to pursue all coverage opportunities on behalf of its clients.
“This includes providing accurate brand references from the outset, for use across all platforms. It is a two-way conversation between the journalist and the PR in order to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Editorial control always remains with the journalist.”
MasterCard later told Channel 4 News: “We have become aware of this situation and have been clear with our agency and attending media. Attendance at the Brits is not, nor has it ever been, a condition of coverage or endorsement.”
Tell us what you think of the story @Channel4News – PR disaster or price to pay for tickets…
Doesn’t that sound a lot like games ‘journalism’ on a day to day basis. http://t.co/j3HeM8NNtz Drafting tweets is a step over the line.
— Ben (@DiYE) February 19, 2014
Row brewing over apparent attempts to force journalists to send sponsored tweets from the Brits. http://t.co/dufCwbySEb
— Journalism and Media (@JournoatHud) February 19, 2014
How not to do PR: http://t.co/tsO3S2OCDl Asking for pre-written tweets to metion MasterCard in return for accreditation is lazy and rude
— Coral Williamson (@coralamberrr) February 19, 2014
It’d be cool if no journos went to the Brits tonight, and instead just tweeted the coverage from home, unrestricted http://t.co/UuGm0NJhSa
— Jonathan Greer (@slowthrills) February 19, 2014
— Ian Carter (@iancarterKM) February 19, 2014
— SirPaudiePrendergast (@paudieaudi) February 19, 2014