Given that many of the world's leaders are pointing their fingers in blame for the 21 August chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 1,400 people straight at Syrian President Bashar Assad, the role the PR campaign that in the last week he, along with one of his greatest (and most powerful) allies, President Putin of Russia, has waged has certainly been surprising.
To be sure, scandal has always been with us. The annals of British history are littered with the names of great national hellraisers, from Vinnie Jones to Gazza and beyond. However, there is a difference. Recent distasteful behaviour in sport, whether it be the English rugby team tossing midgets, or the bout of al fresco relief with which I began this article, betrays cultural problems, not individual misdemeanours...
It is clear that all these movements have had a huge impact in raising awareness of these women's groups' agendas, regularly hitting the front pages and attracting high level support. As someone who works with companies to create communications strategies to support their business objectives, I wondered what lessons could be learnt to create more engaging campaigns.
Warren Buffett isn't often wrong. Yet he was when he said: 'It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.' Most reputations are severely damaged because an organisation has failed over many years to operationally live up to the high expectations set by their PR and marketing activity.
Social media has changed the game in many ways when it comes to PR and marketing, but there are still some people who are yet to open their eyes to its true potential. However, the way that Sharknado lit up the Twittersphere whilst it was being aired should be enough to change a lot of stubborn people's minds.
A heavily worked phrase used by the tourist industry is to describe a particular destination as a "country of contrast". Sri Lanka is surely such a country - at one level a popular tourist destination... In contrast it also detains its citizens without trial, restricts freedom of expression, arrests members of the judiciary, stands accused of committing war crimes and routinely tortures.
Businesses that once believed in segmenting the value chain, are beginning to understand that consistency is key to building momentum. As such, to continue being relevant in this world, PR needs to not only be clearly integrated with all marketing disciplines but also with historically business functions such as sales.
With friends from the RSPCA, The Body Shop and the wider animal welfare movement, Forster is finally celebrating the EU Directive which will ban the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals. While much of Forster's client communications work can be instantly measured, evaluated, refined and adapted, it's important to note that real, enduring change takes time to bring about.