Image by @bobblebardsley

Everybody enjoys a good PR disaster, especially when a multinational corporation like Master Card is involved.  Last night, their social media campaign surrounding the Brit Awards spectacularly backfired when journalists high-jacked their hash tag #PricelessSuprises.

The credit card giant’s PR company, House PR, asked journalists to agree to a number of conditions in return for their ticket to the event. One prerequisite that particularly got up the nostrils of journalists was the requirement to adopt the hash tag #PricelessSuprises when referring to the awards ceremony. The PR company even went as far as suggesting tweets for before, during and after the event.

As you could imagine, this created quite the stir on Twitter:

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But was this actually a PR disaster or PR stunt? They certainly created considerable noise around the sponsorship. Once more, the context of the event is likely to fade over time leaving only a stronger association with the popular and highly esteemed Brit Awards.

However with the growing expectation of corporate transparency, especially where finance is involved, is this really the right message that Master Card wants to be sending out to the world?