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Blog > PR Man - no, not him...

Author: Martin Hayes

Some of the most annoying words in the English language have to be: ‘his/her spokesman Max Clifford said …’.  In recent weeks Max has operated on behalf of terminally ill Z list celeb Jade Goody and ‘Britain’s youngest dad’ Alfie (13 years old but looks about 8).

I say annoying because, to the general public, Max is a PR man – and that’s what we at APR are too (well, PR ladies as well, actually). So are we just the same? Well, no, not at all! For one thing we don’t make zillions per story published as Mr Clifford seems to and, rather more importantly, we operate in a business-like environment which is a million miles away from the celebrity infested land he inhabits.

So it's always galling when acquaintances, taxi drivers and other passing folk instantly think of Max when they hear what we do to earn a crust. If I had a pound for every time someone says ‘just like Max Clifford’ when I outline my trade I’d be – well, nowhere near as rich as him but a bit better off than I am now.

In an earlier phase of my career, at the end of a particularly bitter labour dispute which we, the management, eventually ‘won’, the union convener lent into my office and described me as the ‘Goebbels of this outfit’, which I guess was oddly warming compared with being put in the same box as Mr Clifford and his fake stories from celebrity land.

Dr Goebbels was at least an arch exponent of propaganda and I thought of him when I was in China where I discovered there is no precise translation for ‘public relations’. Instead, the word used is really a translation of propaganda and no-one splits any hairs between these two apparently similar, but oh so different, disciplines.

So, when you next see some carefully crafted and very expensive words mouthed by Max Clifford, please don’t confuse what he is doing with what we and thousands like us call ‘PR’ – it’s a very different world, whatever the Chinese may think!

16th Mar 09

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