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PR – or publicity?

27 Sep

Question: which PR person was profiled on the front page of a UK Sunday newspaper review section? Answer: Pat Kingley, ‘in many respects the most powerful woman in Hollywood’.

As gatekeeper to so many celebrities, she exerts control over the media that would be very damaging if she worked in corporate relations or public affairs. But it’s movies (a make-believe world), so her power doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

She’ll demand that her stars appear on the covers of magazines or not at all, that they have the right of veto over writers and photographers, that they get copy approval… She is rumoured to have have said to one editor: ‘Why do you get to decide who goes on your cover?’

I’ve been carrying the newspaper around since Sunday, so here, belatedly, is the link from The Observer on Sunday 25 September.

Disposable culture

7 Dec

Kate Nicholas of PR Week (writing in The Independent) casts a critical eye at the value of celebrity endorsement as another TV series celebrating celebrity comes to an end.

Fallen idol

22 Sep

At least David Beckham scored from a free kick to earn Real Madrid a much-needed win last night.

But Media Guardian speculates that his contract with another ailing name, Marks & Spencer, might be terminated early. It appears that Beckham is devalued as a celebrity now he’s less visible in Britain.

I’m sceptical about our obsession with celebrity and didn’t enjoy Hamish Pringle’s Celebrity Sells – an extended advertisement for big budget marketing communications.

Time waits for no brand

5 Jul

At least I had my say well before the Borkowski ideas factory got round to processing spicy Beckham sausage meat. But their approach is so much more eloquent. Time waits for no brand…

Sex, fees and newspapers

6 May

Leeds Met PR student Svend Anders Karlsen-Moum spotted an article on ‘kiss and tell’ in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet on 24 April 2004.

The article took a critical look at the British media’s sex obsession and explored the role played by Max Clifford (Svend Anders translates):

Max Clifford takes 20 per cent of the fees he negotiates for his clients. The agent says the number of girls who have approched him in recent years has increased, and he now has employees working solely with those who have a story to sell. “I believe there are many who track down footballers and other celebrities just to make money out of them,” he says.

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Tips for celebrities

15 Apr

The BBC offers this not-entirely-serious advice on how to handle a media scandal. Meanwhile, Mark Borkowski dissects the Beckham business in Media Guardian (registration required).

Pointless celebrity

17 Nov

‘A nation obsessed with talentless, pointless celebrity’, writes Piers Morgan in The Guardian, promoting his new Channel 4 series devoted to celebrity.

On Max alert

13 Oct

The involvement of Max Clifford in a high profile case that has yet to lead to charges or to a trial has been noted elsewhere (eg PR Fuel).

Today Brian MacLaurin comments in Media Guardian on the implications of this case. He argues that law firms should be offering high-level professional media support in cases such as these. (Not replacing PR consultants, but working with them, presumably.)

He’s right. But he misses the point that Max Clifford has surely been approached by the person making the allegations not to make her case in public, nor even to broker the sale of her story. Neither would look good in court. Surely he’s there to provide the family with protection from the media.

Truth international

19 Sep

Over a year ago, on another site, I commented (see entry for 11 May 2002) on a then current news story involving the England football coach, his partner Nancy Dell’Olio, a TV presenter, a PR fixer and a charity.

At the time, there seemed to me to be some details missing from the story. The charity, Truce International, was mentioned, but without any supporting evidence. Now I learn that this charity was only launched this week. It’s mentioned in this Mirror article, and PR Week reports that Protocol PR is to promote the charity. Protocol PR’s founder is Simon Astaire, who also had a walk-on part in last year’s tabloid revelations.

It’s good that this is all cleared up now. Perhaps it’s just me that feels uneasy about the tabloids being manipulated into premature PR announcements on the back of celebrity photo opportunities.

The governor?

19 Aug

Where does celebrity stop and politics begin? Mark Borkowski analyses Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Californian state of politics in Media Guardian:

Since we live in a world where fact and fiction are often so intertwined as to be indistinguishable, his decision to stand for California state governor is completely logical. Celebrities are our heroes, and one of the most valuable media commodities; politics is a game of media control; the perfect politician is the bankable star whose every last utterance and action is front page news.