Timing Is Everything

A British public relations executive is cautioning PR professionals not to release bad news in the wake of Michael Jackson's death. "No-one can ever trump Labour aide Jo Moore's debacle during the September 11 attacks, but there'll be cynics out there watching very carefully for companies releasing stuff under cover of global mourning," said Dougal Paver, Managing Director of Paver Smith. (Moore, a media adviser to the Transport, Local Government and Regions Secretary, infamously wrote on September 11, 2001 that "It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury.") The Australian government, however, couldn't resist. Hours after the news of Jackson's death, late on a Friday afternoon, the Australian Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Craig Emerson, announced that he was axing the establishment of a website comparing grocery prices between retail chains. Most major supermarkets objected to the proposed website, which would have been run by the consumer group Choice.