2007 is coming to an end and UK PR agency, the Red Consultancy, might have just given us another

‘Claire Swires’

, or are they just generating a spot of seasonal publicity?

The full story can be found on The Register, but to paraphrase the whole saucy affair, two people were caught enjoying a spot of festive ‘relations’ on a neighbouring company’s office desk and got caught in the act.

A good humoured internal email has been sent to all Red staff asking the classy couple to come forward. Red has not ruled out the possibility that it could be ‘outsiders’ who were let into the building,  but CCTV footage should have helped them make a positive identification by now.

Anyhow, a couple of questions come to mind:

Is this a publicity stunt by Red to generate some seasonal interest about the agency or a client?

Will Red manage to keep the protagonists identity and footage and photos out of social networks and social media such as Facebook, YouTube and what will they do to manage the potential tide of comments and speculation about the affair in online media, blogs and UGC from the PR gossips?

I tried to post a tongue-in-cheek comment on the ShinyRed blog earlier today – a blog for Red’s online PR team - but it hasn’t been published. A possible indication that Red is trying to keep the affair under wraps and that crisis management is in full swing at Great Windmill Street?

It’s all idle gossip of course, but this whole story does highlight the more serious business of corporate and personal reputation management, and how networked digital channels can spread gossip and speculation. And, of course, the importance of a strategic PR response.

So Red, with its wealth of PR talent and online specialists, should be in the ideal position to handle this, right? Time will tell (the clock is ticking).

The E-consultancy Christmas party looms… we’re going to attempt that tricky seasonal challenge having fun and trying to keep our reputations intact 😉