Barely a week after Centrespread announced its affiliation agreement with global advertising giant, Grey thereby changing its name to CentrespreadGrey, a media statement titled 'Skye Bank determined to recover N1.4b Debt from Centrespread...Despite New Affiliation with Grey' surfaced in the media circles in what analysts believe is a move by some faceless group to douse the positive vibes engendered by the well announced affiliation, even before its proper take off.
While some of the journalists who were mailed the news release saw it as coming from Skye Bank to underline the worsening of relationship between the Bank and Centrespread, gobignews.blogspot.com decided to probe deeper to uncover the real motive behind the statement.
Officials of Skye Bank's Corporate Affairs Unit who spoke with gobignews.blogspot.com however slammed the news release and its promoters.
'I can confidently tell you that Skye Bank did not author or authorize that news release', one official volunteered.
'As at this moment, we do not work with any PR agency or consultant and there is no Charles Igbinidu, working for the Corporate Affairs Unit or the Bank, either as an in-house staff or consultant to the Corporate Affairs Unit. So, we cannot accept ownership of the said statement', he further stated.
Another official of the Bank described Centrespread as a valued customer and friend of the Bank whose giant strides in country's marketing communications sector remained a thing of pride to the Skye Bank family.
'We are in business and our customers, of which Centrespread is one, remain an important reason for our business success this far. Their success stories make us happy and proud and, even if we have business disagreements, there are more efficient, time-tested channels of resolving such in the best interest of all parties concerned. Skye Bank is an ethical business and we cannot malign any of our customers, for whatever reason', he submitted.
Discreet investigation by this medium showed that there is currently no PR/ Media Relations agency on Skye Bank's roster. The most recent agreement it had with a PR agency ended sometime ago and, so far, it has not been renewed; nor is another agency engaged.
In another interesting twist to the drama, the blog got a SMS asking that the said news release be ignored as it was pushed out by a discredited source who, according to the text, had been sacked by the PR agency where he had been working until recently. The SMS further claimed that the promoter of the news release was doing 'hatchet job for some unknown masters'.
However, further findings revealed that the popular PR practitioner who owns the PR agency in Magodo area in Lagos state, where the falsehood peddler used to work before he was sacked due to conflict of interest and unending private practises, confided in an associate that his agency is not working for Skye Bank and could not have released the material to the media. He categorically denied his involvement and that of his firm in the origination and syndication of the story.
'Our Agency values style, taste and elegance. Our approach to the business of PR will not allow us to issue such tasteless and inelegant content. It is definitely not from us because we do not even work for the Principal in question, as at this moment', he noted.
Lekan Ishola, Managing Director of PR Redline, the PR agency in the CentrespreadGrey Group, said the Group would not respond to media enquiry on the said material as, according to him, they would rather concentrate on the task of deepening and strengthening the CentrespreadGrey brand.
'These are exciting and busy times for us, business wise and it not wise for us to dissipate energy on issues that do not advance our new business focus. I am sure you know the marketing communication world is waiting to see what revolution this affiliation can produce and we prefer to work hard at that objective; not getting distracted by some idle peddlers of hate and rumour'.
Some industry watchers have argued that the discredited news release could have been orchestrated either by those who would like to see the relationship between Skye Bank and Centrespread damaged irreparably or by those who are afraid of the potential business edge Centrespread stands to gain with the newly signed Grey affiliation agreement.
From all indications, it seems both Skye Bank and CentrespreadGrey still have their eyes set on repairing their relationship which may be strained at the moment. This may be the reason why both parties have refused to be drawn into a media war.