London Saffers in protest mode – next stop Gupta agency Bell Pottinger

By Alec Hogg
I was among the 600 who gathered outside South Africa House on Saturday. The protest was held in great spirit; pity about many being able to hear the speakers but as this is a new thing for the UK Saffer community, in future the the organisers are sure to enlist more powerful than a loud hailer.
London Saffers are once again gathering on Saturday at 10am at 330 High Holborn. This is the first time I’ve heard of very public outrage against a company which charges top dollar for advice on reputation management – but Bell Pottinger is itself reaping the unintended consequence of aligning with a dubious client.

Bell Pottinger, which describes itself as “one of the UK’s leading full-service international communications companies” created and executed a dodgy communications strategy in South Africa for the crony capitalist Gupta family, promoting a racially-charged, divisive agenda. It has engineered a tidal wave of friction through fake news, paid twitter and other tools of the dark media arts.

Ajay Gupta being interviewed by Stephen Grootes
Saturday’s protest is an effort by those who believe in Nelson Mandela’s dream of a Rainbow Nation to show the PR mercenaries they have overstepped the mark. Already long-time clients like Richemont and Investec have terminated their relationship with Bell Pottinger. Depending on how well the weekend’s campaign is supported, the agency might see more going the same way.