Lucy Kellaway in her column in the FT on Monday (7 Feb) has set the PR world alight.
HP's marketing and communications chief objected to a piece Ms Kellaway penned the previous week on Meg Whitman's speech at Davos.
It appears that he then threw his toys out of the pram, with a vaguely worded threat regarding its advertising.
His mistake is painfully ripped apart in what is a thoroughly entertaining column.
You shouldn't need me or any PR adviser to explain why this was not the best approach. By all means pen the email and letter, and then delete it.
You can never win an argument with a columnist, and certainly not one as entertaining as Ms Kellaway's. They always have the final word.
I suspect this will be repeated for years to come in every PR text book. HP's marketing chief has secured his place in PR history.
Dear Henry, I want to apologise for the disingenuousness of my last email. I don’t thank you for your message, which I found — to borrow your word — disappointing. You say the FT management should think about “unacceptable biases” and its relationship with its advertisers. My piece was not biased and I fear you misunderstand our business model. It is my editors’ steadfast refusal to consider the impact of stories on advertisers that makes us the decent newspaper we are. It is why I want to go on working here. It is why the FT goes on paying me.