Remember the law firm whose £150,000 a year IT lawyer repeatedly demanded his mourning secretary for £4 for a dry cleaning bill to get rid of the stain on his trousers she made with spilt ketchup? She was at her mother's funeral, yet the boss persisted, only to be flamed by the national press, like The Times, The Mail and so on, when they heard the story. Ouch. That was bad PR for Fifa.
The most famous ketchup stain in London has claimed its first victim. Richard Phillips, the City lawyer whose suit was soiled by the misdirected tomato sauce, has resigned from his position, it was announced yesterday. Mr Phillips, 36, had decided to take a "long-planned" study break from work as the spillage continued to exercise the imaginations of some of the most highly paid professionals in London. The £150,000-a-year senior associate, who is an IT law expert, is said to be humiliated by the media attention surrounding his claim for recompense for his £4 dry cleaning bill from the much lower paid legal secretary.
Well, Baker & McKenzie have done it again. This time they've issued the big blog Boing Boing with a note warning that they'll be looking out for illegally-posted video clips of World Cup footage (their client is FIFA, you see). What BM didn't realise is that with blogs, you have to take into account the attitudes of the users. Bear in mind that we're looking at people who could post videos online whenever they want, cos they dont care. They aren't bothered by law. They watch the whole series of Lost before it's out, through BitTorrent. They get the new Kooks album off Limewire. And they blog and YouTube and MySpace about whatever they want, so you have to think a bit before assuming old school tactics will work just as well. And boy is this a big crowd we're talking about. It's going to include 80 million MySpaces, 50 million YouTube views a day, 42.9 million blogs, then the P2P downloading sites... so targeting BoingBoing in this way has only fanned the flames.
Perhaps FIFA could've spoken to its PR people instead of its lawyers and done something smart. They could've taken bytesize chunks of MySpace and blog content and given it away to the social media set? Such as video packets, MySpace backgrounds, photos, it doesn't take much imagination. They could've got some great PR and Myspace loving. But instead they've created a monster of anti-FIFA bloggers, YouTubers and MySpace rs. Good luck monitoring and taming 172.9 million online outlets, and some, in the coming weeks.
To round things off, here's a graph of the blog traffic BM is now getting from this negative publicity. Ouch.