19 Feb 2014

Want tickets to the Brits? Journos told to tweet Mastercard

Journalists react angrily on Twitter after a PR company representing Mastercard tells them to mention the company in their tweets from the Brit awards.

Want tickets to the Brits: journos told to tweet Mastercard (Getty)

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”.

They even go as far as suggesting tweets journalists could use: Really excited to be heading down to @BRITAwards tonight with @MasterCardUK #PricelessSurprises.

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”.

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…