Those of you in the PR industry know that most PR companies are filled with passionate, intelligent people dedicated to helping great brands and businesses to communicate with their client base and with wider society through a variety of media and social media channels.
However, much of the wider public has only had access to one kind of PR – celebrity PR – and most notably, one name that crops up again and again, usually in relation to the well-known scandal du jour. Max Clifford.
Sadly, the lasting impression that most non-PR folk have of our noble trade is that of Max Clifford, self-proclaimed ‘PR guru’ standing next to some shamefaced Z-lister, making a statement on their behalf about how they didn’t sleep with a married footballer or organise the murder of their new wife.
There was also the infamous Louis Theroux documentary, revealing Clifford’s methods to be underhand, manipulative and downright unpleasant. For a so-called PR guru, Clifford’s personal reputation is hardly something he can be proud of.
I can assure you as a proud beginner in PR, that I have never placed a juicy sex scandal in a tabloid newspaper, taken on an accused murderer as a ‘celebrity’ client nor done damage control for a disgraced footballer’s ex – nor will I ever.
I may represent recruitment companies and business schools rather than the latest tabloid sensation and steer clear of the murky waters of celebrity PR. I am, however, very much in PR – I’m just on a totally different planet to Max Clifford, as, I suspect, is 99% of the industry.
So, judge us not on the actions of one man, but on the actions of the silent masses, the hardworking writers helping their clients to find their voice, sending interesting press releases to journalists who want to write about them for people who want to read about them! And please, when you think PR, don’t think Max Clifford.