Wealthy need to splash their cash

'Heaven protect us from Puritanism' was the Cavaliers' battle cry four centuries ago when the curse was civil war. Now that the plague is dire economic stress, it should equally be the rallying call for communicators managing the image of the bankers, spendthrifts and moneymen deemed responsible. The media cry is for their heads and those of the people who associate with them.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

Exposing conspicuous consumption is the new game in town. Some tabloids have tapped into the wells of sanctimony that they occasionally use to pillory private sexual conduct to justify attacks on those they portray as fat cats with ill-gotten wealth.

Politicians are damned for merely associating with bankers. William Hague found himself under fire for attending a conference of the wealth management division of Barclays, with whom his wife holds a position and at which champagne was drunk. How glum to portray champagne, widely available in supermarkets, as being beyond the pale of the new austerity.

PR professionals working for politicians, businessmen and the envied rich should actually be out there with positive messages.

The vital necessity, even the social responsibility, of those with money to keep spending to keep the wheels of the economy turning would be another. Unpalatable as it may seem to some, the Russian oligarch commissioning a new yacht creates jobs and wages that keep others away from the jaws of depression. The same message applies to Premiership footballers and pop stars who continue buying homes and cars. Media pomposity suggesting such behaviour is antisocial should be pricked with sensitivity.

Equally communicators should be robust in pointing out the need of politicians to maintain relationships with wealth creators and managers.

Greed may no longer be good but the media should not be allowed to create an unchallenged narrative suggesting that the hair shirt is the only permissible fashion accessory for the wealthy.

 

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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