So how big are the marketing and PR budgets for the big blockbusters? Well to put it in perspective the head of PR for the Call of Duty series in the UK, Kathryn Kirton, syphoned over R300 000 out of the PR budget and didn’t expect it to be noticed… she was wrong.
According to a court trial that has just finished, Ms Kirton used her position in the company to splurge PR money on clothing, hotels and a hen party amongst other things.
The spending spree included an incredible R132 538 on clothing from one upmarket boutique, an invoice she passed of as
clothing for a specialist magazine shoot for Modern Warfare 2
Now I’ve played modern warfare 2 and I don’t remember a part of the game where clothing from a store like this
Another PR consultant, Jamie Kaye, then charged Activision R49 000 for a holiday, that he took with this family in Florida.
The majority of the fraud was quite well done with Jamie using his company credit card to purchase the goods then submitting the invoices to Kathryn to approve as she was his superior.
In the end however they were found guilty of one count of fraud each and given a suspended sentence. So a mere slap on the wrist. Granted their careers are now in tatters but it does feel a little lenient to me.
The reason for the suspended sentences were twofold, with Kathryn recently having a child and her marriage in tatters the judge didn’t want to heap more pain on the child. And secondly the judge appeared to believe that Kathryn and Jamie were simply overly tempted by the world of PR
Judge John Hillen spared them both jail and said the case reflected the temptations on offer in the world of PR.
I’m tempted by what’s on offer in that bank vault or at that really nice Sony store but that doesn’t give me the right to take it. When I worked for the bank I was tempted to transfer millions to my account and yet I doubt the judge would have looked on that leniently.
To me it looks like the PR people have once again managed a bad situation and gotten off virtually scot free. Oh to be born with a silken tongue.
As a side note, Geoff actually met Kathryn at a previous launch and only came home with a golden Rolex… if only he’d known.
Last Updated: April 24, 2013