Is Max Clifford a dinosaur?

Apparently, “public relations guru”, , when giving a recent presentation in Dubai, said that PR is about ‘protection rather than promotion.’ 

In my view, this makes him a dumb dinosaur (albeit a rich one).  Like too many public relations practitioners, Clifford hasn’t realised we’ve shifted to an open communications world, where maintaining secrets is impossible – as well as being a stupid strategy for effective reputation management.

But this is a man whose wikipedia entry says he is “known as being ruthless in his pursuit in gaining his client publicity or subverting a damaging story, representing unpopular clients (such as those accused or convicted of crimes) and acting as an agent to people selling “kiss-and-tell” stories”

I’m not sure he’d even be aware that his entry on one of the most popular sources of information online still emphasises his role as a publicist.  Actually, this is the top result on a Google search, where Clifford’s own site is 10th (and wouldn’t even load when I checked the link).   This indicates he is still operating in a tabloid world and wouldn’t know his from his elbow.

Let’s hope one outcome of the new media challenges for public relations is the extinction of protectionist/publicists like Clifford. 

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.