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Who needs a PR department?

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Yesterday’s note about Tim Martin’s raucous attack on journalists in a statement to the stock market got two sorts of responses.

1) It’s just part of his brand.

2) How on earth did he get that signed off by the PR department?

On point one: yes it is part of his image, but it’s not contrived. You don’t have to like his pubs (you terrible snob), but at least give him credit for authenticity.

On the second point: he doesn’t have a PR department.

An ex-hack called Eddie Gershon has done nearly all of it for the last 30 years.

Martin does the rest himself, including writing his own RNSs.

Eddie tells me he once wrote a piece for PR Week noting that he did Wetherspoon’s financial PR and every other aspect of press for the company and that they weren’t missing much. “I got numerous responses from financial PR companies telling me I was wrong. I wasn’t.”

The Martin/Gershon model is a pointed threat to the PR trade.

It says that you don’t need an agency and that the best way to deal with journalists is to answer your phone when they call and tell them the truth.

Most FTSE chairmen are too nervous to just ditch their PR firm. But in straightened times with all costs up for being cut, maybe some might be tempted to see if they can live without you…


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