Sending spoof redundancy letters to journalists as a PR stunt – now there’s a good idea


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Those folks at Draft FCB sure are fans of hoaxing the trade press.

It’s not much more than three years since as editor of B&T I banned Draft FCB’s press releases from the magazine after they hoaxed us with a stunt involving claims that two of its creatives were leaving for a startup. It turned out to be to promote the new series of Mad Men.

This week saw a document arrive in the post from “The Australian Interior Authority” headed Notice of Your Redeployment.  

It informed me that “as of the 24 July you services will no longer be required”. (Which would have been a tad more convincing if July 24 hadn’t already been and gone.)

The Australian Interior Authority URL (and you may already be ahead of me on this) is registered to Draft FCB.

Without revealing the client, Fenton PR the agency also working on this, has now been in touch to ask if we’d be writing about it. So I asked which titles the targeted trade journos had been targeted.

Obligingly, she informs me they include 66 journalists, with staff on Fairfax Media’s The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald,The Sunday Age and the Australian Financial Review included.

As in the Fairfax Media that’s been making journalists redundant.

I did ask the PR person whether this was in good taste. She said she’d ask “the power that be” and get back to me.

Apparently the client will be revealed on Monday. I look forward to seeing the coverage they get.

6.25pm update: Fenton tells me:

“The letters to the journalists were designed as part of our broader campaign. Their wording is deliberately far fetched, ridiculous and extreme. You will note these letters have been dated well into the future (2021) and were not formulated with the intent to cause personal or individual distress to journalists.

“The campaign has been devised to raise awareness of an issue in which journalists play an integral role. We are in the process of following up the journalists who have received the letter and so far the feedback around the campaign – as can also be noted by the levels of response on social media – has been of interest and intrigue.”

Tim Burrowes



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