Inside Story: Who's absolutely fabulous in PR?

They're the people you rely on to make your name or your new product shine in the media spotlight, but who would they pick out as the cream of their crop?

ROB PARTRIDGE: COALITION

CLIENTS INCLUDE: TOM WAITS; THE LIBERTINES; FRANZ FERDINAND; MARIANNE FAITHFULL

"I'd say Gary Farrow, who until recently was communications director at Sony Records UK, but has now gone independent. His company, The Corporation, is working with Elton John. Gary is extremely well-connected and well-liked, and he has the ability to network seamlessly.If you really need to be put in touch with the right person, Gary is the man to go through."

LYNNE FRANKS: LYNNE FRANKS PR

FOUNDER OF LYNNE FRANKS PR, AND NOW AUTHOR AND FOUNDER OF SEED - A TRAINING PROGRAMME AND NETWORK FOR FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS

"I would say Mark Borkowski. He is really creative and such a wonderful showman. The Body Craze festival he did at Selfridges two years ago was exceptional. Whether he's working with a large corporation or a tiny company, Mark will bring to it the same enthusiasm and flair."

CONNIE FILIPPELLO: CONNIE FILIPPELLO PUBLICITY

CLIENTS INCLUDE: GEORGE MICHAEL; MARIAH CAREY; RUPERT EVERETT; DONATELLA VERSACE; TOMMY HILFIGER;ITALIAN VOGUE

"Lynne Franks is one of the all-time great PRs. I'm a huge admirer of the work she did for the Labour Party in the 1980s. She is one of the most creative PRs this country has seen. Matthew Freud is a brilliant businessman and a great ideas man. He has an instinctive understanding of what the client needs and extremely inventive. I don't think Alan Edwards has done a bad campaign and his work with David Bowie has been amazing. Barbara Charone is probably everyone's favourite PR. She has done a fantastic job with Madonna. Murray Chalmers, EMI's press officer, has been excellent for Kylie."

ALAN EDWARDS: THE OUTSIDE ORGANISATION

CLIENTS INCLUDE: DAVID BOWIE; PAUL MCCARTNEY; NAOMI CAMPBELL, JAMIE OLIVER

"The contribution Alastair Campbell made not just to the communication but also the very creation of New Labour was phenomenal. His sense of vision, detail andnatural instinct for the way the media would interpret the story, played a crucial part in the rise and rise of Tony Blair and New Labour. This will be a textbook study for students of PR for years to come." Matthew Freud played a crucial role in the development of this world of the modern agency. This mantle has been picked up by Red Agency and the ever creative Jackie Cooper. Max Clifford operates outside the world that is traditionally know as 'PR', but he is an unbelievably skilful operator. What is more extraordinary is that no one has been able to replicate the business and service that he operates."

CARL FYSH & WILLIAM RICE: PURPLE ENTERTAINMENT PR

CLIENTS INCLUDE: TEXAS; GOLDFRAPP; JADE JAGGER; ROCKSTAR GAMES

"Anita Borzyszkowska, the in-house PR director for Gap Europe. She has helped turn around the perception of Gap from a faceless, high street, multi-chain US snore store to a dynamic, exciting, must-visit retail destination. She has done this by careful placement of stories and products in key positioning titles such as Vogue, Elle, Sunday Times Style magazine and Arena Homme Plus. She makes great use of celebrity tie-ins to spin stories and she has helped to reverse Gap's negative brand imagery from the 1990's. She also has fantastic crisis-management PR skills."

MARK BORKOWSKI: BORKOWSKI PR

CLIENTS INCLUDE: SELFRIDGES; TISCALI; VODAFONE; PEUGEOT; VIRGIN MEGASTORES

"Unfortunately, there are no great publicists left. It's now incredibly difficult to create a distinctive company culture and too many people are in PR to get rich quick. Far too many companies are happy to play second fiddle to the ad and marketing companies, instead of leading the modern media mix. The lack of an independent spirit is a sad loss to the heady world of public relations. So the folk I respect are the ones that have achieved so much from scratch and who have challenged the current trends. I salute PRs who have developed a unique company culture, like Matthew Freud with his able captain Kris Thykier, and Jackie Cooper with Robert Phillips. Both have tried to build a culture where they look at something creatively, develop a point of difference and sell what journalists want. I also admire Lynne Franks for being in the vanguard of the new age."

BERNARD DOHERTY: LD COMMUNICATIONS

CLIENTS INCLUDE: BAND AID 20; THE ROLLING STONES; SHANIA TWAIN; Q MAGAZINE

"The two that stand out are Regine Moylett and Barbara Charone. Regine specialises in music , and she's been working with U2 since at least 1985, plus Blur, Dido and PJ Harvey. I've always found her committed to the task and she has a great sense of humour. As for Barbara Charone, if it wasn't for Chelsea Football Club, I think she would eat, drink and sleep PR."

JULIAN HENRY: HENRY'S HOUSE

CLIENTS INCLUDE: THE BECKHAMS; COCA-COLA; VIRGIN MOBILE; POP IDOL

"I'd nominate some people from the opposite end of the spectrum, from entertainment. Julia Hobsbawm does ethical PR and those two words don't often go together. The mere fact that she's able to do it is impressive enough. She is good at demonstrating leadership to the industry, because she has a responsible attitude towards PR issues which isn't governed by commercial interests. Someone who does a tough job in the commercial end of things is Nick Hindle, the director of communications at McDonald's. You have to remember that it's very easy for journalists to put the boot into McDonald's. I've spoken to Nick since Super Size Me was released and he changed my mind a little about McDonald's by giving me some context; by telling me about some of the work they do in the community and the number of people they employ."

MAX CLIFFORD: MAX CLIFFORD ASSOCIATES

CLIENTS INCLUDE: SIMON COWELL; CLUB 328; ALEX KARIDIS; SIMON JORDAN; BRIAN MCFADDEN

"The best PR I have known is Syd Gillingham. He was chief press officer at EMI and a former Daily Telegraph journalist. Syd, now in his mid-seventies, worked with a lot of the big stars from the time of Frank Sinatra. He had patience, which I don't. He also had a great instinct for anticipating problems and, therefore, avoiding them, which is a hugely important part of PR. He had a very, very good attitude, by which I mean that you treat the journalists the way you want them to treat you. It worked extremely well for him: he was well-liked, as well as well-respected. He would also be prepared to put up with the kind of dramas and aggravation that you get from dealing with people who are extremely rich, powerful and influential, whether they are stars, or heads of companies or organisations... whereas I don't stand five minutes of it. The other advantage he had was that he was anonymous, which can be a big advantage. For me, the opposite is true. We still see each other about every two to three weeks and have fish and chips together."

MATTHEW FREUD: FREUD COMMUNICATIONS

CLIENTS INCLUDE: NESTLÉ; PEPSI; PIXAR SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT; NIKE; MIRAMAX; WORKING TITLE

"Among the agencies, Roland Rudd is very good, and the in-house person we've been most impressed with is Simon Lewis, who was at Centrica and is now at Vodafone. Roland is genuinely impressive, and he has fantastic relationships and understands the business particularly well. In the job of in-house corporate communications, Simon seems to be the most sophisticated of the players in the marketplace. The work he did at Centrica was pretty impressive and it's clearly the reason that Vodafone has decided to plump for him. He's not insulated in the way that often one can be when working in-house. He has good, informed opinions and he acts on them, and he also understands how to work with the media."

JOHN NOEL: JOHN NOEL MANAGEMENT

CLIENTS INCLUDE: DAVINA MCCALL; DERMOT O'LEARY; TESS DALY

"I'd like to put forward James Herring, who is one half of Taylor Herring. He manages to put his finger on a rapidly changing television landscape. He's a very sharp individual. Of all the people I've worked with, his company will probably take the crown from the Freud organisation."

GARY FARROW: THE CORPORATION

PRINCIPAL CLIENT: ELTON JOHN

"The best is Will Whitehorn, Richard Branson's right-hand man. He's fantastic. He's very intelligent, extremely hard-working, has a great perception of the ever-changing media landscape and universally liked. Alan Edwards is great as well. He's incredibly hard-working. He'll do 7am until midnight, six days a week. He has great attention to detail, and I think that his representation of David Bowie has been exemplary."

ROBERT PHILLIPS: JACKIE COOPER PR

CLIENTS INCLUDE: SONY (PSP AND COLUMBIA TRISTAR); WEMBLEY STADIUM

"The man who walks on water is Mike Seymour, international director of crisis and issues management at Edelman, our sister company. There is no calmer, more authoritative or nicer man. He is a 60-year-old ex-tank commander and he handled all of the crisis and issues management around the Paddington rail crash, and he's done major disasters and major product recalls. He also advises people on crisis-limitation strategies. I suppose that when you've seen the dark side of things, it does give you a certain sense of calm. He's someone that everyone here has immense trust and belief in. Jackie's and my vote for the loveliest guy in the industry goes to Mark Borkowski, who is a genuinely nice guy. That's very important when you're collaborating on something and, on theatre in particular, Mark is very talented. You've got to admire people like Alan Parker at Brunswick, who has built a fantastic business in a very specialised area, and George Pitcher at Luther Pendragon: it's not an everyday PR consultancy - more corporate issues management - and he's built a very successful practice out of it."

IAN MONK: IAN MONK ASSOCIATES

CLIENTS INCLUDE: WAYNE ROONEY; EMAP CONSUMER MAGAZINES (CORPORATE); DE KEYSER FASHIONS

"The man who taught me most of what I know is Brian MacLaurin, who remains a phenomenally good operator is fantastically well connected to the media, extraordinarily creative and has a very broad view of which issues need to projected and which need to be less projected. He has great energy and fantastic contacts. He taught me that the ability to pick up the phone to an editor or programme editor and to communicate directly with them is the most crucial tool."

TERRI HALL: HALL OR NOTHING

CLIENTS INCLUDE: OASIS; FEEDER; READING FESTIVAL; MANIC STREET PREACHERS

"Rob Partridge at Coalition. They have a really strong client list, and I think that he really cares. They don't just take things on for the money; they actually worry about what they do. That sounds very po-faced, but it's true. Barbara Charone is also revered as one of the best of the old-school PRs. She handled Elton John's outburst about Madonna at the Q Awards last year so smoothly, issuing a press release as she sat there right next to him. And John Best's promotion of Morrissey last year was also fantastic."

CIARA PARKES: PUBLIC EYE COMMUNICATIONS

CLIENTS INCLUDE: EWAN MCGREGOR; JUDE LAW; SIR IAN MCKELLEN

"The person who sticks out is Sir Tim Bell. I've always admired Sir Tim. He has a huge amount of experience and, from what I've read, he has always spoken from his gut instinct. I don't think you can learn great PR. I think some people are born with an innate sense for the story. I also believe that you need a good moral background."

JO VICKERS: VICKERS PR

CLIENTS INCLUDE: HOTEL BEL-AIR; COWLEY MANOR; PALACE IN ST MORITZ; IL PELLICANO

"In celebrity PR, Freud Communications can give you that 'wow' factor. If you are doing a film premiere or a new beer, you go to them. Freud can really push something, but if I needed something to be placed more exclusively, I would go to Mark Borkowski. Where Matthew Freud has built great connections, Mark has true genius, especially for the theatrical side of things. He sniffed out clients before they were famous, such as Claire Danes. He will also do fun, random things like the Chinese State Circus. If I were launching a brand I would go to Freud, but if I were an actress I would choose Mark."

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