SUVA, FIJI: The story broke on July 12 in an Australian Associated
Press (AAP) article that answered the prayers of gossip hounds panting
for morsels from the Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise breakup.
Kidman and (alleged) former flame, macho man du jour Russell Crowe, had
apparently jetted off for some private time in paradise. "They're both
definitely here on Wakaya Island," confirmed Bill Whiting, marketing
director of Fiji's Visitor's Bureau, to the AAP.
So for drawing the world's eyes for an improbably long time to a tiny
and privileged island in the South Pacific, we award Whiting a PR Play
of the Week.
"This would be the biggest publicity that we've ever had as a
destination," Whiting told PRWeek. "It is unique, because normally it
doesn't come out until much later that someone was here."
That is probably because the club's policy is to guard celebrities'
privacy, but no such qualms inhibited Whiting.
The story bounced off the satellites and ran around the world in
In just one day, the story got into the UK's Daily Mail, the Calgary
Herald, the Belfast Telegraph, and even a Dow Jones market newswire.
The story might have died there, but Whiting fed the beast with at least
two more tantalizing tidbits this week that kept it spinning.
First, he was eager to quell rumors of any Kidman/Crowe coupling. Then,
an "unnamed" tourism office spokesman (there is only one other person in
the office - and she's a woman) told the Sydney Herald Sun that Tom
Cruise himself had arrived on the island for a visit with his
Kidman and Crowe then flew the coop.
Whiting has also been featured on a number of Australian radio talk
shows, talking about the island's attraction to celebrities and ordinary
folk alike. "The fact is we had 32,000 people come to Fiji last month
and have a nice holiday," he said.