Poor Prue Leith.
In a true social media Halloween horror story, she has tweeted out the name of the Great British Bake Off winner before the show has aired.
It was an honest mistake, made because she’s across the world in Bhutan, assuming that we are six hours ahead of her, when in fact we’re six hours behind.
In the panic which ensued, Prue deleted the tweet – but of course others had already taken screen grabs or retweeted it, to revel in her mistake.
She told the Press Association: “I’m in Bhutan. The time difference is massive. I thought that they got it six hours ago. I’m in too much of a state to talk about it. I f***ed up.”
Once she was in a little less of a state, she tweeted to viewers:
Let’s be honest, this is not a PR crisis, either for Channel 4 or for Love Productions who make Bake Off. For one thing, it’s got everyone talking about the show even more.
For another, the way we consume our television is changing. So many of us watch these programmes on catch-up - showing that it’s not all about the thrill of the big reveal at the end, but as much about the fight to be declared winner.
Prue’s response has been perfect. Not in the least bit pompous or defensive – but human in admitting her mistake and showing true distress at the prospect of spoiling the surprise for viewers.
While some will say that’s exactly what she’s done, and others will point out that their beloved Mary Berry would never have made this kind of error, the air hasn’t completely gone out of Prue’s soufflé.
The true crisis for Bake Off came during its defection from the BBC, when viewers were threatening to boycott the new format and Love Productions were branded greedy for taking a more profitable deal from Channel 4.
Bake Off survived that threat to its brand reputation.
While we all feel sorry for Prue (ever sent an email or text to the wrong person and felt your heart drop into your boots?) she’s done the right thing and should weather this storm fairly well.
At Only Crisis, we know how to measure public response to a mistake, without unnecessary panicking. Call us on 0800 612 9890.