The Big Question: How should the PR industry handle the Max factor?

Once again Max Clifford has made the news in his own right, through his involvement in the headline stories of Jeffrey Archer’s fall from grace and the announcement of Cherie Blair’s pregnancy

Once again Max Clifford has made the news in his own right, through

his involvement in the headline stories of Jeffrey Archer’s fall from

grace and the announcement of Cherie Blair’s pregnancy





PETER HEHIR PORTER NOVELLI INTERNATIONAL



’Although he operates in an area I know little about, he seems to be

remarkably good at it. The industry scored a massive own goal five years

ago when it engaged in an argument with Max: not only did it bring him

into the fold by implication, it also lost the argument and provoked him

into describing himself as a ’public relations consultant’ for the first

time, just to teach his tormentors a lesson! Perhaps the PRCA should use

a little of its marketing budget to persuade Max to return to the phrase

’publicist’. I would gladly act as go-between.’





QUENTIN BELL QBO



’Max and I respect each other, but we are at different ends of the PR

spectrum. I represent the mainstream consultancy business worth some

pounds 600 million. He represents himself - speaking up, often, on

controversial issues. The media increasingly view Max as ’Mr PR’. He

isn’t. Allegedly selling stories directly to the newspapers isn’t what

we do; and even though he claims this to be just 20 per cent of his

work, it is still 100 per cent of his public image. He has a right to

make his point and make a living. But to that extent he is still an

inappropriate ambassador. I tried to redress the image balance as PRCA

chairman. It’s a pity the industry has been lacklustre on this point

since.’





BILL JONES LEXIS PR



’We should give Max a medal for saving us from the possibility, however

remote, of Jeffrey Archer becoming London’s mayor. Some of his clients

might find it difficult to get representation elsewhere and some of the

stories he’s been involved in have been a bit dodgy, but people are

inclined to remember the dodgy ones and forget the good ones. The

Jeffrey Archer story, for example, was in the public interest. How many

of us can claim to have been involved in so many stories that have been

in the public interest, rather than just commercial interests?’





MAX CLIFFORD MAX CLIFFORD ASSOCIATES



’I’ve had very little contact with the PR industry over the years

However, having had daily contact with the press, TV and radio

journalists since I started in the business in 1962, the impression I

get is that the PR industry has great difficulty in handling almost

anything. If this is the case, maybe the best thing to do is simply to

ignore the Max factor entirely. As, at 56, I eat far too much, play

squash and tennis flat out, have an incredibly demanding sex life and

regularly upset the rich and powerful, surely the Max factor can’t last

much longer anyway. Happy Christmas!’



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