From afar, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani might look like a nuclear meltdown in progress. He has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his marriage is crumbling in the most public way imaginable and the deadline looms for him to announce whether he’s going to challenge Hillary Clinton for the vacant New York Senate seat.
From afar, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani might look like a nuclear
meltdown in progress. He has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his
marriage is crumbling in the most public way imaginable and the deadline
looms for him to announce whether he’s going to challenge Hillary
Clinton for the vacant New York Senate seat.
A soap opera? Sure. A PR mess? Not by a long shot. In fact, Giuliani’s
PR strategy might just be one of the boldest and savviest ones in recent
memory. Rudy Giuliani, derided by critics and even admirers as an
unfeeling jerk, has somehow become a sympathetic figure.
At the press conference during which he announced that he has cancer,
Giuliani gave the public one of its first glimpses of him as anything
other than an aggressive, unflappable workaholic. He subsequently
admitted that Judi Nathan, his regular companion at high-profile public
events, was a ’very good friend’ (has any other modern-day politician
admitted marital infidelity in such a brazen manner?), then mournfully
announced the end of his marriage days later. All the while, he
deflected will-he-or-won’t-he questions about his political future by
saying that his personal problems, specifically his kids and his health,
In doing so, Giuliani came across as Rudy the Human Being rather than
Rudy the Politician or Rudy the Bully. And this humanity, this tacit
acknowledgement that he doesn’t exist on a loftier moral plane, could
well be the missing piece to his image puzzle. When added to his track
record as a crime-fighter and the driving force behind one of New York
City’s best economic eras, it makes him a much more formidable candidate
than he was.
Whether he runs for Senate is almost a moot point right now. Rudy
Giuliani, however he emerges from his current predicament, has added a
human dimension to his image.
Headaches behind the Lycos deal
Meanwhile, outside of Gotham came news that Internet portal Lycos has
agreed to be acquired by Telefonica of Spain in a dollars 12 billion
deal that would combine Lycos with Terra Networks (Telefonica’s Internet
arm) and partner the duo with German media titan Bertelsmann. It marks
the first purchase of a US Internet company by a European Internet
While the business media spoke about the inexorable march of media
convergence and marveled at the opportunities inherent in the deal - for
example, Bertelsmann’s CDs could be downloaded through Telefonica
cellular phones in Europe - the most intriguing issue in our minds is
this: how will three companies, each with distinct national cultures, be
integrated? Bringing two US-based companies together is tough enough
from a communications perspective, but this should prove to be a
Herculean task for the PR and IR pros who have to assuage the concerns
of employees, investors and the media.
’The risk with every merger is that you’re bringing together a number of
players with different backgrounds and agendas,’ said one observer.
What’s more, Lycos is dealing with a relatively new PR firm, as
Shandwick won the business just two months ago. How do you say ’leverage
synergies’ in Spanish?