OPINION: The Big Question - Who is going to need the greatest PR back-up in the year 2000?

Our panel of consultants from all walks of PR peer into their crystal balls and predict who will have to fight the hardest to save their reputation next year.

Our panel of consultants from all walks of PR peer into their

crystal balls and predict who will have to fight the hardest to save

their reputation next year.





IAIN ANDERSON



Ludgate Public Affairs



’If the beef crisis cannot be resolved, there will be a big job on for

French companies trading in the UK. Golden Delicious apples, French

wines and even some restaurants are already being boycotted by those

angry at the continuing French ban on British beef. If the Murdoch-owned

tabloids carry on whipping up the national mood on the matter, many

French firms will need help. Agriculture secretary Nick Brown will also

need very good advice, as we see an escalation of the war in the courts

Europe seems to have ended up waging war about food. A vital part of

this will be the war for people’s hearts and minds.’





MARK BORKOWSKI



Borkowski PR



’As we get ever nearer to new elections Alastair Campbell’s new year

alarm call will remind him not to be complacent. William Hague’s

leadership will continue to be under pressure, not helped by the return

of Michael Portillo, and will also have to look at increased spin. I

think God and Christianity need PR help, as we enter the 21st century

with ever decreasing numbers visiting churches. Chris Evans’ image needs

attention, also Matthew Freud. With Matthew it is the tall poppy

syndrome and people will be out to get him. It’s a big year for Kevin

Keegan, people love sporting heroes as long as they are succeeding, but

once they start to fade they can very quickly suffer.’





SIMON HILL



Lewis Communications



’In the immediate aftermath of 1 January, 2000, look no further than the

IT industry. Given that, to date, the Y2K bug has gone with a whimper

rather than bang, how is the hysterical build-up to be explained

away?



The medium-term play has to be China. One fourth of the world’s

population, good food, all that investment pouring in, what an account!

Lastly, perhaps the extra-terrestrials will see sense. Having left their

reputations unmanaged for the past thousand years, their lack of

visibility or credibility is largely of their own making. When we do

make contact, I’m sure they can’t be as cheesily good or as villainously

bad as we’ve been led to believe. Seems like a perfect job for PR Repair

Man.’





WILLIAM CLUTTERBUCK



Maitland Consultancy



’Quoted dot.coms are going to need most PR help in 2000. There is now a

great surge in demand for their shares, largely based on the hope that

they will benefit from an increase in e-commerce activity in

general.



Most are unprofitable and young, with few or no assets other than the

people and the idea. There will be a change in the way business is done

and a lot of money could be made, but this does not translate into vast

profits for all. In the 1970s a lot of computer companies were predicted

to grow, and the only one left is IBM with a reduced market share. Rapid

growth usually means consolidation and casualties. There is a better

then even chance of a crisis of confidence in this area. For good

dot.coms not to be tarred with the same brush as bad dot.coms,

communications will be crucial.’



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