WOULD YOU WORK FOR DIANA? THE KINGS OF PUBLICITY GIVE THEIR VIEWS
Tuesday 30 July 1996
I've got a lot of time for her, but what she requires is a full-time PR, almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It wouldn't be practical or possible for me. She's just about the biggest star in the world. There's so much going on in her life which requires expert guidance.
The operation incident was handled badly. I would have handled it very differently. A couple of months after, the mother or father would have revealed, despite saying they were sworn to secrecy, how wonderful Diana had been. In spite of her troubles she'd taken time out to see the little child afterwards. That way you turn a damaging situation into a hugely successful one.
It's very easy to lose take of reality. When she apparently says she doesn't need somebody, it's total nonsense. She needs somebody more than ever. But she needs someone where she will do what they say.
The announcement about resigning the charities was obviously damaging. It appeared to everyone as an attempt to get back for losing the HRH title. That is not the Queen of Hearts. It's not someone whose interest is other people. Whether that's how it was, that's how it appeared. PR is about promoting an image that often is nothing to do with reality.
Her role is Chicago, Argentina, Pakistan, Great Ormond Street, using her popularity and charisma to help other people. I would have had her at the Olympic Games, announcing a major Children's Olympic charity, and the person whose idea it was would be Princess Diana. Always give credit to the star.
Phil Symes (former clients include Elizabeth Hurley, Pamela Bordes, Naomi Campbell, Paul McCartney)
She would be the dream client. There is a woman there who really needs some help, and that's not been happening, whether it's her fault or not. We want to see more of her as a mother, a woman of dignity who is also very beautiful. She must continue to look wonderful. No books, no films, no television. But she does need to be in the public going about her life.
Elizabeth Hurley and Princess Diana are not dissimilar. They both had enormous public sympathy, being slightly wronged people. But the public sympathy Diana holds has been somewhat eroded. There have been too many public outbursts and there have been too many what seem to be stunted photocalls or events. It looks too obviously manipulated.
The greatest thing she still has going for her is that the public adore her, whether she has the HRH title or not. Her biggest problem is that she has been too impetuous. There's also a sense of a woman reacting vindictively rather than with dignity. Announcements, like stepping down from the charities, can be timed with other major events, so they become less prominent.
I always thought she'd work better with men, she follows their advice better. She appears to have a higher regard for men than women. She might always be suspicious of women, that another was trying to steal her limelight.
Two avenues ought to be explored for her future. She is a great ambassador for England in terms of the business community. And who better to front the millennium celebration campaign? The public also see her as someone who cares for children, and that should be part of her role.
Brian Basham (Robert Maxwell, Saatchi brothers, Mohamed al-Fayed, Ernest Saunders)
She's the client from hell. You wouldn't want to go anywhere near her. She's completely potty. She makes Robert Maxwell look like a pussy cat.
I know nothing about her, but the indications are that she's obsessive and doesn't seem in control of herself. She seems the most frightening and compromising of clients, a person who doesn't let the right hand know what the left hand is doing. One of her advisers resigned because she kept secret about going on Panorama. You could risk your reputation, that's why you wouldn't want her.
However, she does seem to show, or somebody behind her does, a talent for tactical PR. The skill with which she crafted the letter resigning from 100 charities, then got a friend to act as her spokesperson, was masterful.
She will be film-star famous for as long as we have a monarchy, since she is mother of the future king. In many ways she is the Royal Family's saviour. They've got nobody else that attractive. The Queen is 70. Who can give the family any appeal? If she died tomorrow and Prince Charles took over, there is a strong chance the monarchy would not survive.
Diana's role will ebb and flow. She's immensely cheapened. The association with the Duchess of York is damaging. It's so tainted. Diana then dropped everything and ran home over the resignation of her PR adviser. It shows how important to her it is. She should have played it coolly, and issued a short statement saying she was enjoying a "much needed holiday with her children". It looks like she left her children behind to run back and look after her image.
But time retrieves anything. Companies put out regular results. The Royal Family has weddings, deaths and births. The next big thing is the death of the Queen Mother, which will give them all a tremendous boost.
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