Business Diary: Let's shake on some PR help

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Diary had to laugh at this one from PR Week, the trade magazine for the public relations industry. It seems the Freemasons are concerned about their image and have called in spin-doctors for help. Honestly, it's not all about obscure rituals and secret handshakes (which is a myth, apparently). The Freemasons, who have 250,000 members in the UK, are simply a fun-loving, fraternal and charitable organisation. Their new PR company, Bondy, has been called in to encourage members to talk more openly about the organisation. But PR Week says both Bondy and the United Grand Lodge were strangely tight-lipped about previous PRs.

Commission please, Googlers

Readers might remember the sharp cookie in the US who used Google ads to bag a new job by linking his name to potential employers, hoping they Googled themselves. The trend has come over here. The makers of an... ahem... science-fiction comedy drama have paid for an ad attaching their pitch to search results for Channel 4's youthful head of programming, Julian Bellamy. Diary pointed it out to Mr Bellamy himself yesterday, so we are angling for a big commission if this goes stellar.

More ads woe for the pink 'un

The Financial Times keeps getting into trouble with its advertising. Earlier this month, Diary reported that, on legal advice, it had pulled an ad that was sharply critical of Shell, just before the oil company's annual meeting (even though others papers ran it). Now has run an NetJets promotion urging readers to "spend less time in the air, more time doing business". It was placed next to a report about the deaths of the entire board of Australia's Sundance Resources, who were killed in an air crash.

HSBC looks after its own strawbs

Diary's hunt for Asda's free strawberries at Wimbledon is still proving fruitless. There was an alternative this morning, though. HSBC has jumped on the bandwagon and is offering cream with its berries. You just have to be a customer to benefit. Typical.