Elon Musk to the Lionesses – what’s been catching our attention recently

By Ellie Pocock on Thursday, 13 April 2023

Elon Musk’s impromptu interview with the BBC is catching the headlines this week. It garnered enough interest to get its own live stream on the BBC news page on Wednesday morning, as reporters distilled the interview through the day.

But what’s so strange about Elon Musk chatting to the BBC you might be wondering? Well, it all came about after Elon Musk’s twitter labelled the BBC twitter account as ‘government funded media’. This prompted a message to Elon Musk from the team, a journalist chancing it with an interview ask and Elon Musk suggesting it take place live on Twitter spaces and on BBC News just a few hours later.

Now a BBC interview is pretty up there when it comes to gaining exposure for a company, or a spokesperson. One of the most well-regarded news outlets in the world, with a global footprint, an interview of any type (not least one lasting 90 minutes) will often mean a good week of prep, key message honing, working through Q&As, running over how to side-step potentially difficult questions and a touch of media training as well.

But few of us, or our clients, are Elon Musk. And I would imagine he barely took more than a few minutes to think about what he might want to say to the listening world, and that’s what resulted in the frank and sometimes completely absurd responses he gave. At one point he told the BBC’s James Clayton that his dog ran twitter.

Anyway, back to my point. It’s not the way that we, or indeed many PR teams would do it, and while there was much that was wrong with interview, I do think there is something to be said about the authenticity (at moments).

For spokespeople the challenge always lies in getting those key messages to land, getting their personality across and, in a well-known turn of phrase in our world, being “interestingly boring”. You say enough to be interesting, be invited back again, give opinions, but finely balance that with your key messages and what you want to say and talk about. And perhaps the lesson from Elon (I kind of hate myself for it) is that it is worth thinking differently (sometimes) as brands to maintain authenticity.

Aside from this, there has been some other campaigns that have been catching my eye this week, which are arguably more important than what Mr Musk has or hasn’t been saying.

On Tuesday evening the lionesses took to the pitch to play Australia in a friendly ahead of the Women’s World Cup this summer. And if you tuned in, you may have noticed the players shirts didn’t feature their names.

Why? The shirts are being used to draw attention to the confusion and memory loss often experienced by those affected by Alzheimer’s, and it was an incredibly powerful demonstration of the impact on people. I think we’ve all experienced the panic when you can’t remember someone’s name when they are stood in front of you, and I can’t imagine what it must be like to never be able to find it again.

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