Maximum Impact 27.01.06

Wonderful times for those in PR. Seldom can there have been greater
opportunities for practitioners of this weird and wonderful profession
to stress the value of their talents.

With a good PR close to him, Sven (left)

could
and would have been tipped off and therefore avoided his fake sheikh
fiasco. He could also have oh-so-easily avoided his previous scandals.
George Galloway would have been educated on the awesome price of his
Big Brother humiliation and persuaded not to have committed personal
and professional suicide. And Mark Oaten would have been able to
indulge his wildest, sexual fantasies without being caught out and
therefore politically ruined.

What virtually all journalists
still fail to realise is the extent and depth of media protection
provided to the rich, powerful and famous by public relations. During
the past 40 years I have been increasingly aware of and involved with
countless damage limitation exercises that have successfully protected
both the innocent, the guilty and all those somewhere in-between from
careerdestroying decisions and actions.

When any major names
approach me for protection, I make it clear that if I don’t know more
about them than anyone in their lives, it’s a waste of my time and
their money.

On the purely sexual side of things, often by taking
the risk out of peoples’ escapades you take their main stimulant away.
They would hate to be caught, but the risk is incredibly exciting.

So
protecting them from themselves is seldom simple or straightforward,
and often the client is not aware of the role the PR person plays in
covering their back. You know what they’re about and what they get off
on, but what they, the client, often doesn’t realise when they “walk on
the wild side” is that virtually all aspects of what takes place has
been stage-managed by the PR.

Easy to say, I know, but if Mark
Oaten (above) had been a client of mine the relationship with the rent
boy would probably never have come out. Whether that’s a good thing or
not, well you make up your own mind. Several years ago I acted for a
major political figure in similar circumstances, both he and his wife
for some time shared the same female lover – both together and
independently. Years on, a story that would create worldwide headlines
and be worth hundreds of thousands remains a secret.

From the perverse to the ridiculous. Big Brother has proven a nightmare for Faria Alam, Michael Barrymore and George Galloway.

The
opposite is obviously true of MCA client 22-year-old Chantelle
Houghton, who pretended to be a celebrity to get onto the show, and has
now become one. With the three-week run coming to an end, Chantelle is
now the centre of a huge media scrum and I already have offers from TV,
record companies and magazines worth beyond her wildest dreams. Fame
and fortune guaranteed for this natural young lady from Essex for at
least another 10 minutes.

Kiss of death for some; huge immediate
success for Chantelle. It’s good, bad and revolting – Big Brother is
virtually real. Funny old world.

The fee for this column is donated to CHASE (Christopher’s) Children’s Hospital

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