This thread is about @UniversitiesUK hiring an "external communications firm" to "improve capacity", and guesstimating how much that might cost.

Screengrab: Letter from Churchill College 16 March 2018

#USSStrike #NoCapitulation
1/ RUMOUR MILL: UUK has hired Saatchi & Saatchi (London). I'm not going into detail into Saatchi & Saatchi's history. You can check it out on Wikipedia. Here's an image of what they have at the entrance of London office. "Nothing is impossible": does that include rescuing UUK?
2/ CAVEAT EMPTOR: I'm a historian, not specialised in anything to do with PR. If you're an academic specialised in the history and present of the PR industry, I'd deeply appreciate it if you could verify/falsify my speculations.
3/ RETAINERS: Most PR/Advertising/Communications firms prefer this pricing. Typical contract length: 6 months to 1 year. Could be USD 5,000-50,000 a month. Prestigious PR company retainer: USD 100,000 per week.
4/ PROJECT-BASED: Or you could get a PR/Communications firm to charge you for a one-off project which may last for a month or two. Could be USD 100,000-200,000 minimum per project.
5/ ONGOING CRISIS: but let us say you have an emergency PR meltdown/crisis and you need round-the-clock PR management. This could be charged by the hour, anything from USD 500-1,000 per hour. 1 week has 168 hours. So 1 week crisis costs USD 84,000-168,000.
6/ PAYMENT PER PLACEMENT: usually used by smaller PR companies, you get charged for each item/ad/statement placed. Each "thing" could be USD 1,000.
7/ My guess is that Universities UK has gone for some sort of project-based arrangement, since it is a meltdown that does not necessarily require round-the-clock care. If it is a prestigious PR company, my guess is USD 250,000-500,000 altogether for this pensions fiasco.
8/ There is tremendous irony in that UUK (run by PR man Alistair Jarvis), whose raison d'etre is to be the "voice of universities" ("voice of the managerial class") i.e. doing PR/Communications, now needs to hire an external PR firm to do, er, PR work. We should take the piss.
9/ Churchill College says "It is the message that is the problem". By making to move to hire PR firm, UUK basically says it does not care about the message. Expect the PR firm now to saturate media/public with spin & lies, smears & disinformation in the next weeks & months.
10/ It highlights that UUK lives on a different planet from HE sector. It's an organisation that is capable of throwing that much money at a prestigious, global/corporate PR firm. UUK's money paid by MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTIONS, so it is uni's money--your money--UUK is pissing away.
END/ So make no mistake. This has always been a protracted, asymmetric, attrition warfare. One side with buckets of your money to throw at PR firms. The other side has an army of guerrilla nerds on Twitter. Keep your wits about.

#USSstrike #NoCapitulation 😡😡😡
POSTSCRIPT/ In case you miss some of the comments/replies, huge thanks to @craigh_ for clarification. The numbers are a bit high but with a top firm like Saatchi & Saatchi, I am probably not far off with the fees. #USSstrike #NoCapitulation
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