There are some outstanding PR firms out there (see below). It does then remain a mystery as to why some firms in the banking and payments space commission PR firms that do not seem to understand the sector. Or have the common sense to check publicly available sources such as UK Finance. Or perhaps they have such a low opinion of some of us that they believe journalists will be so gullible as to accept anything pitched to us.
It has taken only 11 days of the new year for the first egregious example of a PR pitch. To no great surprise, it relates to BNPL. This sector seems to attract PR pitches of the worst sort.
On the basis of a survey showing that a lower proportion of Gen Z consumers have a credit card compared to millennials, Gen X or baby boomers, the pitch is headed ‘credit cards continue to fall out of favour’ and starts with the words ‘the decline in credit card use…
Credit cards are not falling out of favour as per official stats but no matter. This is a BNPL pitch. For the record, if we take the UK, numbers from UK Finance at the end of November revealed that there were 376.6 million credit card transactions in August 2022, the latest month for which up-to-date figures are to hand, 12.5% more than August 2021. Total spend was £20.1bn., up by 18.5% y-o-y in August 2022 from August 2021.
UK outstanding balances on credit card accounts grew by 11% over the 12 months to August 2022. Or take the US as another example. The most recent stats show that US credit card balances are close to an all time high. In Q3 2022, US credit card balances grew by 15% y-o-y, the biggest annual jump in about 20 years. So not much evidence in the US of ‘credit cards falling out of favour’ or ‘the decline in credit card use’ in the US.
I could go on-those numbers will suffice. BNPL will no doubt continue to attract a disproportionate amount of coverage, given its low numbers relative to debit and credit card usage. But before the BNPL evangelists try to claim that the credit card is in retreat, here is a novel idea: check the actual numbers before cluttering up journalists’ inboxes with worthless pitches.
On this occasion, I am being kind and have simply deleted the pitch. In the future, there might however be some harmless fun in having a section on worst PR pitches or PR pitches with the most factual errors. My guess is that the web stats would be pretty decent. And on the basis of recent years, the chances are that many of the worst PR emails will relate to BNPL.
And for the record, there are indeed some excellent PR firms out there, to whom I am most grateful and extend my thanks for their help in 2022 and pass on best wishes for 2023. Firms I can rely upon not to waste my time with ridiculous pitches include-and I best ensure no claim of bias by mentioning in alphabetical order – Allison PR, Archetype, Aspectus, Brands2Life, C8, CC Gp, Citigate, Cognito, Edelman, Firstlight Gp, Fleishman, Fletcher Gp, Fusion PR, Fwd, Goldsmith, Golin, Grayling, Greentarget, Harrison Sadler, Hotwire, iseepr, Jones PR, Metia, MHP, Missive, Nelson Bostock, Prosek, SEC Newgate, Rostrum, SkyParlour, Spark, Tyto, WeberShandwick, Wachsman.
My friends-a small but decent group of folks-might be forgiven for thinking that I have little patience for the PR profession as I have been known to moan about them on occasions-many occasions perhaps. So here are over 30 firms and I don’t doubt I could have added to the 30+ firms easily-that I do rate and can be relied upon not to pitch utter rubbish.