The well choreographed Mark Owen affair unfolding in the British papers is a lesson in how celebrity indiscretions can be managed without apparent loss of reputation or a dent in earning power.
The photos of sad, charmingly scruffy Owen, reflecting we imagine, his tortured, repentant state – his downcast yet forgiving wife at the door of their Wandsworth home – it’s so right, it could be from a Take That Christmas video.
And there’s the killer reference to Robbie Williams, Owen’s pal who is helping him through his alcohol problems – the perfect image reference point. Whoever put this together is some sort of PR Jedi.
The Tiger Woods affair(s), on the other hand was not so much image management, as a cautionary tale. Woods finally hired a PR adviser this week – Ari Fleischer whose previous clients include..George W Bush.
Fleischer has some experience of golf related issues – back in 2002 it was Bush’s antics on the golf course rather than off it that caused a few red faces, specifically this video clip: More »
It’s been some weekend for reputation management, allegations of bullying at number 10, Tiger Woods’ public self-flagellation, Ashley Cole and Vernon Kay’s errant texts – skeletons not so much falling out of cupboards as walking out of them into a TV studio and making full, boney confessions.
Tiger’s one on Friday was 3 months too late (and comically stage-managed). If he’d done it in December and got back to playing golf, he could have played the Accenture World Match Play this weekend, sponsorship deal intact. Instead he’s disappearing into extended penance – and more sex therapy (blimey, how bad is it) – the image crisis defining him rather than he it.
Somehow it’s not a stretch to believe table thumping Gordon Brown could be difficult to work with, a man who’s bulldozed his way to the top job by hook and by crook, will have chewed up a lot of staff in his wake. It will now take more than a cosy Piers Morgan interview to convince the public he’s a nice guy.
Meanwhile, Vernon Kay must be thanking his family good fortune that Ashley Cole exists. While Kay apparently sent some inappropriate texts to women, in the same week, Cole reportedly sent PICTURES to his.
In reputation management as in life, timing is everything.