Tim Martin 1, Saudi Arabia 0

Tomorrow's Business

A tale of two PR campaigns today, one costing reportedly £200 million, and the other costing roughly nothing. Tim Martin’s entertaining broadside against some of his own investors, corporate governance and company hypocrisy was mostly very well received.

He’s mostly right, even if he does bang on a bit, was the general feeling. Cost to Wetherspoon’s of all this good PR? Not much. A few hundred quid.

Meanwhile today’s Daily Telegraph leads it biz section the story that Saudi Aramco is set for a mammoth £200 million “marketing blitz” to “elevate its public profile”.

Now, let’s allow that huge companies like Saudi Aramco are bound to spend more money on PR and related activities than Tim Martin. And that some say the Tel’s figure is inflated anyway.

But, a few thoughts:

How on earth do you spend £200m on PR?

If you have to spend that much, doesn’t that suggest you’ve got a really serious PR problem?

Is there a good chance the people bidding to land chunks of this money will later find out it really wasn’t worth the hassle?

A City PR man writes: “The only way people are going to hear Aramco’s message is if it pays for it. The problem for them is this will be undermined by all the reporters working hard to find out the real stories. That will potentially backfire on the marketing spend.

Saudis hate bad news. And they will realise money can’t silence anybody.”

I’m not so sure money can’t silence anybody. But the point is well made.

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