Exclusive*: Lance Armstrong PR strategy after Oprah Winfrey interview revealed in leaked email from senior industry figure

*Not really. But the below is free and eminently usable if any of you want it

Amol Rajan
Thursday 17 January 2013 18:28

You know how I always bang on about my hatred of the PR industry, what a bunch of mountebanks and scoundrels they are, why they all should retrain as journalists, right? Well, scrap that. Some PRs are geniuses, like the one who wrote the below, which has been leaked to me by email. I can confirm it’s not from Max Clifford.

Dear Lance,

Look mate, I’ll be honest with you. This isn’t good. I know you said Oprah went pretty easy on you – easier than the New York Times bloody well said she should, the lefty East Coast pompous pricks! – but the next few weeks (actually, make that months) are going to be grim. You need a clear, focused, clever PR campaign, full of strategic nous. I’m willing to do it at a discounted rate. And if you’re wondering whether I’m worth it, all I say is this. Have you Googled ‘Tiger Woods’ recently? Exactly.

What I’d propose is that you do the following, at a minimum. First, get it all out. All of it. Every little bit of badness you’ve ever done which you think might be made public should be made public. There’s only so much appetite to read and watch what a bad boy Lance Armstrong is. So let’s saturate them and get it all out. Slept with hookers? Get it out. Snitched for the Kremlin? Get it out! One very bad patch is better than a few quite bad ones. Trust me.

Second, please be honest with your lawyers (and me) about whether or not you can afford any law suits. If you have to pay substantial sums, we may need to leak that fact early up.

Next, lie low for several months. Maybe even six. No news interviews, no chat shows, no magazines, no newspapers and definitely no tweeting. Keep schtum. Say nadda. Cycle if you must but do it in silence.

After all that we’ll take stock. My sense is you should probably “do a Profumo”. Do you know what I’m referring to? He was this British conservative politician whose dalliance with a call girl shook the Establishment in 1963. But after the scandal died down, he devoted himself to charity for decades, doing the most brilliant work for London’s poor.

Lance mate, I’ve got to be straight with you. There are tough times ahead, and short of being caught in sex acts with juveniles, there’s not much worse PR than when drugs and sport mix. But if you follow the advice above, and devote yourself to the service of others, it will get better. Trust me.

You’ve got my number. Shall we talk?


Max Matthew

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