Is the PR industry in danger of putting its own reputation above that of its clients?
Since the Bell Pottinger scandal, a grubby affair for sure, various firms have ummed and ahhed about filing the gap left by its demise.
They mostly seem to have taken the decision that they might advise dodgy billionaire Russians on the quiet, but they’d rather not advertise the fact.
On one hand, you could see this as the trade becoming more professional. An alternative view is that it is simply shirking its responsibility. It is supposed to represent people with terrible reputations. Saying nice things about nice people hardly counts as a job, does it?
Which brings me to Sir Philip Green.
Maitland, entirely understandably, decided in February it no longer wanted to represent him.
Perhaps at some point, a PR firm decides that if its advice is going to be ignored anyway there’s not much point being an adviser. It may have thought it had more than done its bit.
The other day, Financial News reported that MHP has stepped into the gap, at least as far as advising the board of Arcadia.
I say, fair play to them. Some of the allegations against him are unpleasant to say the least, but he’s a right to be defended, and the best person to speak in the defence of Philip Green definitely isn’t Philip Green.
According to FN, several big name PR firms turned down the chance to represent Sir Philip or even Arcadia. On one hand, I understand why. On the other, what game do they think they are in?