How Noel Broke Through the Noise

Celebrity, Controversy and Topicality. These are the key ingredients that get thrown into the mixing pot every time a story is thrown at the wall. Unfortunately, the celebrity aspect you can’t change, whilst setting the agenda on controversy and topicality is becoming harder and harder. Thousands of websites, bloggers, Facebook groups and YouTube channels, all competing in an ecosystem is not only dangerous but incredibly difficult to tackle. The message is a clear one, if you have a profile, you’re also at risk.

PR expertise is essential in helping to pierce and ultimately burst someone else’s echo chamber. Our client Noel Edmonds recently had a video posted in which he ardently debunked an article about him downing tools and moving to New Zealand. The video amassed over 2m views in a couple of days and fuelled a swell of positive support. This clearly underlines how an individual’s passion to correct falsehood can generate traction.

The power of Noel Edmond’s video is born out of its authenticity. Through a myriad of social media platforms, a celebrity now has a direct line of contact with the public and as Noel has shown; if done correctly, it can be incredibly powerful. However, curating the correct response is no small feat and a celebrity taking to social media to air their grievances is a nuanced business which requires professional guidance. The fact that it’s true that Noel’s house is for sale (and has been for years) shows how we’re not just fighting ‘fake news’, but ‘nuanced fiction’. Whereas fake news can often be challenged legally, nuanced fiction often simply ignores context and uses language such as “allegedly” and “reports of” to curb slander. A carefully worded legal letter cannot tackle such threats; however, a compassioned PR response can change perceptions and shift sentiment.

Naturally, direct communication with the public isn’t always appropriate and it’s the day to day contact between journalists and PR’s which helps shape the public’s perception of a high-profile figure. A good public relations expert not only knows what to say, but who to say it to. Even Noel’s video was posted on Twitter by a trusted journalist. Anyone who says that relationships are dead in the world of PR doesn’t have relationships. Relationships are the key to setting the agenda and when you’re in the public eye 20% of people will never like or accept you. It’s not about converting them but keeping that number as low as possible.
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