David P. Brown
Sawchuk Brown Associates, Albany
An 'ideal' client should understand the value of PR, be facing a formidable challenge and have the resources - not to mention the will - to be aggressively proactive. The relationship should reflect compatibility, commitment and communications savvy. Although challenging, the 'lose-lose' context of the Lewinsky/ impeachment environment precludes almost everyone in Washington, from the President himself to the hordes of media covering the scandal.
Hillary Clinton, however, might have been a good candidate, given everything that she's had to deal with over the last year. The best choice in 1998 might also have been Bill Gates - he's the personification of Microsoft and its communications issues. He would have presented a considerable challenge and an appealing depth of resources. Also appealing is Microsoft's apparent inexperience in the public affairs realm.
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Ohio
My ideal PR client of 1998 would have been US Senator John Glenn from Ohio. In a year tainted with scandal, Glenn ended 24 years of public service with one of the biggest, most publicized going-away and coming-home parties imaginable. Just 36 years after becoming the first NASA astronaut to orbit the earth, Glenn traveled the heavens as the oldest human in space. Portrayed as a mission to find a link between weightlessness and the aging process, Glenn again returned home an American hero - but to a whole new generation, most of whom were too young to remember him as anything other than a politician.
With NASA seemingly having difficulties generating an audience beyond its loyal core of followers, Glenn can be credited with singlehandedly rejuvenating interest in America's space program, as well as bolstering the image of senior citizens' viability.
Medialink, New York
To me, the most obvious candidate would have to be John Glenn. The extraordinary romance of bringing a career to a close with the same kind of awe-inspiring adventure with which it began is a canvas of immense proportions. Not only did his space flight provide an opportunity to promote a variety of issues on aging, but it opened up a range of significant publicity opportunities in science, technology and space travel. The last of these, which once electrified the world and sparked interest in science, had become somewhat humdrum. To spotlight Glenn and fire the imagination of a new audience for these issues would have been satisfying.