Chaos reigns at the cathedral
By Michael Taggart, head of digital and social (here on Twitter)
With its polished website and ‘media centre’, Occupy London Stock Exchange had clearly hoped for a slick PR operation from the off.
Yet there was something farcical about the spectacle of dozens of nearly new tents crammed in front of St Paul’s Cathedral, that historic symbol of, well, nothing relevant to the demonstration.
It must have been obvious even to the foreign TV news audiences that #occupylsx refers to the London Stock Exchange. As a result, the images being beamed around the world scream out “we didn’t quite make it!”.
Then there are the reports of protesters wandering merrily in and out of the local Starbucks; hardly an obvious sponsor of the struggle against globalisation.
Little wonder that Twitter is alive with mischievous speculation about whether the “Tarquins and Cressidas” are against capitalism – “or is it whale hunting today?”.
But if the protesters’ manifesto lacks clarity, it looks like the Gettysburg Address in comparison to the position of their reluctant hosts.
The Dean of St Paul’s has come across as a suspicious father meeting his teenage daughter’s much older boyfriend for the first time; hoping to appear reasonable and relaxed while looking like he was praying for divine intervention.
This culminated in a bizarre, rambling statement on the cathedral’s website yesterday that read like a stream of consciousness and had bemused news editors arguing openly on Twitter about what it meant.
“Is it now time for the protest camp to leave?” the Dean mused, seemingly unsure. “The consequences of a decision to close St Paul’s cannot be taken lightly”.
Frankly, it’s all straight out of the Ratner’s PR Manual.
Michael Taggart is head of digital and social at MRM – follow him here on Twitter.