Thursday, January 03, 2008

Confessions from a dangerous media mind...

Over the past 40 years, Max Clifford has made his mark on society and the world as a key influencer of the global media. After a brief career as a music journalist, he joined EMI at the age of 19 and went on to craft publicity campaigns for The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, the Four Tops, the Temptations and the Jackson Five -- among many others. Through his firm Max Clifford Associates, he continues representing prominent celebrities -- as well as many large organizations and companies. In a recent interview with Start Your Business Magazine, he reveals much -- including these pearls of wisdom from his life as a phenomenally successful media maven.

Copyright 1968 by Apple Records

. (How would you describe your role within PR?) Promotion and protection! The media is a minefield; it can make or break careers and reputations.... My role is to create the best possible image for a client, whether they are a bank or a pop star. This means promoting them, but at the same time you need to protect them from the media....

. Damage limitation is an ever increasingly important part of PR - if something negative appears in a newspaper, it can ultimately ruin a career or ruin a business. Because of this, I would say that the best form of damage limitation is anticipation....

. The very nature of PR necessitates a very close working relationship with the people you represent. In other words, I can only do as good a job as you let me - if I don’t know about something, then I can’t do anything about it. If you’re open and honest then I can help you....

. (Do you think there is any truth in the saying ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’?) No, that is definitely not true. People have had their lives and careers destroyed by bad publicity....

. My job is forever changing - it is always interesting, stimulating and challenging, and no two days are the same. With all of my different clients and the different situations, it’s like playing a dozen games of chess all at once. To me, the public relations industry is an ever changing adventure and I hope this adventure lasts as long as possible, as it certainly beats working for a living.


For more from Mr. Clifford, check out his recent book from Virgin Books: Max Clifford: Read All About It.