Maximum Impact 26.05.06

AS A PR man watching a PR man, David Cameron trying to invent himself as the next Prime Minister is an interesting, stimulating and highly enjoyable experience.

Being Rebekah Wade's guest at the Beckham's weekend bash will presumably do no harm to his chances of getting support in the future from that paper, particularly as Tony Blair prepares to walk away from the battle. But it was such an obvious PR stunt I believe it will do far more harm than good.

His obvious attempt at latching on to the Beckhams and their "in crowd" had short-term publicity gain, but long-term credibility damage — as it was all obviously in the worst possible taste.

In order to get away with this kind of stunt there would have needed to have been some kind of natural tie up with the Beckhams — which if there were, it has certainly never been revealed.

Increasingly the media and the public are starting to see Cameron as mink dressed as mutton. Try being true to yourself, Dave — whatever that is — it may be that reality is more beneficial than PR'd virtual reality, particularly when the Labour government is on the back foot.

FROM PR blunders to PR triumphs, I thought David Beckham's TV documentary David Beckham: A footballers story was the best thing he has ever done. He came across as a warm, modest and charming young man who has got no allusions of grandeur. It even showed that Victoria has a sense of humour, which in itself was quite an achievement.

ACCORDING to Joanna Taylor, writing in The Sunday Times, Melanie Slade — the17-year-old girlfriend of England's Theo Walcott — should say no to Max Clifford and the media. Joanna suggests that on TV interviews I recommended Melanie gave up her studies and become a model or something similar. During my chat with the BBC News at Ten I made it abundantly clear that education should be Melanie's priority and that she should be very careful about any undertakings with the media. I also made it very clear that if she did agree to talk to journalists, then it should be after her exams and only then with professional help and guidance.

I'VE BEEN reading some very critical comments about rumours that former Big Brother star Chantelle has been offered a £300,000 book deal. But maybe it's not so ridiculous when this week's hardback number one best-seller isn't Salman Rushdie or Martin Amis, but another former star of Big Brother — Jade Goody. They used to say if you put together enough monkeys with enough typewriters, one of them will write the complete works of Shakespeare, well it seems if you create enough reality TV stars, one of them will write a best-seller.

The fee for this column is donated to the Rhys Daniels Trust

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