Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is Any P.R. Good P.R.?

Just when we thought Tom Cruise couldn’t ruin his image any more, he did.

For the past nine months leading up to the birth of little Suri, Cruise has been attacked the media and over-exposed on the pages of many glossies such as Star and Us Weekly.

In addition to the TomKat over-saturation, his name is tainted with controversy. Whether it’s his view on anti-depressant medication or the silent birth practiced by Scientologists, enough is enough.

Last November Tom hired entertainment P.R. firm Rogers & Cowan to replace his sister in representing him. What a daunting job. With someone like Tom Cruise (or Paris Hilton, or Michael Jackson), how do you succeed as a good publicist when your client follows a cycle of self-sabotage? How long do you put up with them before you quit?

You think Scott McClellan has a tough job, how do you clear up rumors of your client eating their baby’s placenta? I don’t think I would last half as long as McClellan did with W.

In learning the fundamentals of public relations, you hear a lot about crisis management. To me this means a business facing an illicit scandal, a CEO’s indictment or a financial disaster.

When it comes to “The Biz” crisis management often takes on the role of image management. No one really cares about the devastation of a drug addiction or divorce; the Hollywood folks are concerned over how the “crisis” will affect the box office, if their client will work again or if Chanel still wants the star to represent their perfume.

Clearly the smog and the sunshine do strange things to many of the minds in Hollywood. However I think the P.R. challenges within the industry are overlooked or disregarded because they often are so preposterous.

When the birth of TomKat’s offspring is announced in the first 30 minutes of the Today Show, I think it’s safe to say pop-culture drives our society. Could this mean the role of the entertainment publicist is more influential than one might think?

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