Last session of the day and it’s a key note speech by Max Clifford. Not sure what I’ll get but will try and capture Q&As.
Max talking about being a natural entrepreneur or as he calls it ‘ducking and diving.’ Also about making it up as you go along. He’s recounting the early days of his career. I’m not making this up in case people think I’m being sarcastic.
Max says a lot of his success has come from being in the right place at the right time. His business has been the most incredible adventure.
Just asked Max to clarify whether his PR agency at the start was more about media relations than PR in the wider sense and been told to be quiet, listen and ask questions at the end. Nice.*
Not much more to add.
Onto the questions:
1) What is the ethical framework that guides your work?
Max says: I need to be comfortable with the subject dealt with. Depends on how I feel – I make a decision on the background information I have and my own judgement. It’s based on instinct. That’s it.
2) Who do you follow on Twitter?
I’ve never been on Twitter.
3) Any career highlights and anything you would have done differently?
Not really. With my job I’ve always had to move quickly and you do the best you can in those circumstances.
4) What did you get wrong?
In my day there were no universities teaching public relations. There was no one to turn to and ask. I’ve just done what I thought was right at the time.
5) Have you ever presented facts that you know to be untrue? (Asked by me because Max gave me an opportunity to ask my question again).
Of course I have. Where I’ve considered the story to be no one else’s business. I’ve stopped stories about affairs hitting the headlines because the person wasn’t lecturing about family values and it would have done damage. On the other hand I was happy to splash the David Mellor story because of his double standards.
Brief ‘discussion’ between Max and Rob Brown from Staniforth about the accuracy of the things Max says.
6) How did you feel about the Jade Goodie and Shilpa Shetty racism incident?
Jade wasn’t a racist. I knew she wasn’t. Of course that blew up. Ultimately Jade used her celebrity when she was diagnosed with cancer to help other people. When things happen, people pile in. It’s the nature of the beast.
7) Any practical advice for today’s students?
Get practical experience wherever you can. That’s what I found invaluable.
8) There is a strong celebrity culture nowadays. Is this down to you?
Not really as I don’t work with celebrities because they can’t afford me. Those I do work with are very talented.
9) Has the internet made a big difference to the PR industry?
My work has always been about creating things that last and that takes time. My mainstay is TV, radio and press worldwide so nothing much has changed there. The girls in the office might say differently.
10) What the best thing PR students can do to achieve success?
Those who do well usually have a passion for what they do so students should find an area of PR they love such as fashion or cars and work in that.
*Should say I apologise to Max if I offended by interrupting but that’s been the nature of the day with the presentations. I missed any announcement to keep questions to the end, although I’m not sure there was one…