The decision to put up the prank DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian for television interviews on the commercial Current Affairs show on Monday night was the talk of the media industry yesterday. But for all the wrong reasons.
Instead of drawing a line under the scandal it was seen as "only adding petrol to the fire'', giving the scandal a few more days of coverage.
"The person who suggested putting them on TV should be sacked,'' one senior PR industry figure said.
"They have just made the story bigger and inflamed the British media. It is clear there has been no plan to deal with this from the start or if there has been then it has been a terrible plan.''
Public Relations Institute of Australia president Terri-Helen Gaynor said this is "PR 101 in what not to do'' and she is already using it as a case study with her own staff.
The initial attempts by station owners Southern Cross Austereo to say over the weekend that it had done nothing wrong was also slammed as "stupid and a massive cock-up'' by the more than four senior PR executives that spoke to News Limited yesterday.
"The station immediately adopted an aggressive and provocative stance instead of being contrite and apologetic and it deserves the full fallout that it is receiving,'' one senior PR practitioner said.
Major advertisers, including Telstra and Coles, have suspended lucrative advertising contracts in the aftermath of the scandal.
editor and experienced PR man Mike Smith said the presenters should never have
been put on television.