Tabakoff laughs last; Diary skills with AdNews; Todd’s work-life balance; Be cool the Adam Ferrier way

Of all the people to be aware of Mark Twain’s adage: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel”, you’d have though it would have been Fairfax Media’s management.  

But they learned the lesson last week after chairman Ron Walker and CEO Brian McCarthy patronised Nick Tabakoff from The Australian at the company’s financial results press conference.

After being asked about plans for a capital raising, Walker said: “Nick, are you listening?”, before McCarthy joined in with “Hope you’re listening. Hope everyone’s listening.” Then the pair read out a statement about the company seeing “no present need to raise equity”, with Walker adding: “Want to repeat that again?”

Of course, three days later, the company’s shares were suspended as it started its capital-raising process. The Australian naturally republished the transcript of Monday’s exchange.

News Ltd journalists 1; Fairfax bosses 0.

The current print edition of AdNews is curiously excited about the appointment of Universal McCann to handle Ten’s new digital sport channel. So much so that it runs different versions of the story on pages eight, 10 and 14.

Rather curiously, the story on page 14 concludes: “The high definition channel launched yesterday (26 March).” The channel does indeed launch on 26 March, but just for the record, that’s not for another three and a half weeks.

Sticking with AdNews, the magazine also appears to be as confused as B&T about its subs pricing policy. Dr Mumbo wasn’t sure whether to go for the pullout offer towards the front of the magazine offering 25 issues for $75, or the offer on page 46 offering 25 isues for $99.

Remember the gag about the self-obsessed man who eventually lets his date get a word in edgeways with the words: “So, enough about me. What do you think of me?” Dr Mumbo couldn’t help but think of it when reading the editor’s letter in Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine. Judith Whelan boasted: “2009 marks the 25th anniversary of Good Weekend, Australias’s first and best weekend magazine. We want you to be part of our celebration. Please tell us what you’ve most loved in the magazine’s 25 years…”

The comedy keeps on coming from magazine publisher ACP. After staff being ordered to take a week off at easter so the place can shut down, now comes the suggestion in the Sunday Telegraph that paper towels have been removed from the Park Street offices as another money-saving measure. And that’s just a few days after a management type was reported to be contemplating abolishing deputy editors because they didn’t know what they did.

Fairfax’s Sunday Life magazine certainly gave the marketing industry plenty of love this week. It made a cover star of Leo Burnett’s Todd Sampson as he offered sage advice on work-life balance:

“On Sundays I divide my life into seven roles, and plan my week around each of the seven. My role as corporate leader in No. 7.”

There was also advice from Tory Archbold, MD of marketing firm Torstar Communications: “I’ve switched off voicemail and it’s changed my life. It trains colleagues that I’m not the go-to person. My staff manage my phone throughout the day.” Lucky them.

And elsewhere in the same mag, Sharon Zeev, boss of PR agency Agent99 was sharing the secrets of her marriage, and how she had a disastrous first date.

Indeed, the Sunday papers would have been disastrously empty without advertising types. In News Ltd’s Body+Soul magazine, Naked’s Adam Ferrier was sharing his advice on how to be cool. His five tips: Self-belief; defiance of convention; understated achievement; care of others and connectedness. And his kings of cool? Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela… and Kevin Rudd.

Rival programmers to the Nine Network need look no further than the Sunday Telegraph to find out what’s in the forthcoming schedule. An ad in the paper asks: “Do you have a story to tell about being kidnapped, abducted or forced to carry drugs? Have you packpacked to different countries and ended up with a gun being pointed at your head? For those appearing in the programmes we’ll pay a susbtantial appearance fee.”

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but 2DayFM appears to have a slight PR management issue on its hands after reportedly getting involved in a prank that involved telling a woman that her elderly mother had had a fall and needed an ambulance. The emergency services were, apparently, unamused.


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