I was a bit busy last week, hence the enforced blog break. So I was glad of a rare funny moment to provide a bit of light relief.
It came courtesy of some very nice – if somewhat confused – young woman from a newspaper group down in the south coast of England.
The bubbly lass by the name of Josie was on the phone to Holyrood PR trying to arrange a promotional tie up with our clients, the Tigerlily hotel. Since a new flight is opening up between Newquay to Edinburgh the paper wanted to offer readers the chance to win a trip to Scotland’s capital, complete with a stay in the city’s trendiest venue.
But it all started to go wrong from the minute I picked up the phone and the unfortunate Josie got confused about who she was looking for.
“Oh hello,” she trilled cheerfully. “Can I speak to Holly please?”
Of course, there’s no Holly working with us – and never has been. So I responded to this honest mistake with a polite: “I’m sorry there’s no-one called Holly working here, I think you’ve probably got the wrong number.”
But Josie perservered: “Oooh. It’s definitely Holly I’m looking for. Are you sure there’s no Holly Rude working there?”
The penny dropped. Agog, I could only swallow down my indignation, while patiently trying to explain to the young woman the significance of the name Holyrood – seat of the Scottish parliament etc. I can only preume she followed up her call to us with a call to some media business in London’s W2 postcode area to ask for Wes Minster.
It seemed strange to have a newapaper phoning a PR company asking stupid questions. Ask anyone working on a newspaper newsdesk and they’ll tell you there are few things more annoying than junior account executives with PR companies who phone to check if their press releases have got through – and if they are likely to be used.
Inviarialy they phone at the wrong time of day, with stories that have no chance of getting in and compound their error by asking for the wrong person (or for people who have long since left).
A few classics I remember from my own newspaper days include the junior PR person who was looking to my good pal Barbie Dutter – but got her name all wrong and ended up looking for Bambi Duster.
But my pesonal favouriet was during my Daily Record newsdesk days – when one London PR couldn’t get her head round the Scottish name of popular colleague Murray Foote (Dundee’s premier pie fan) . Despite repeatedly querying the spelling of his name, still managed to address all her subsequent press releases to Marcie Toot. Highly entertaining idiocy.