Max Clifford: Don`t hate the player, hate the game.

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"Most journalists would sell their own mothers for a great story, but sometimes you're able to make them an offer that they think they shouldn't refuse. I'll find them a job or I'll come up with something that means they won't lose their job."
Max Clifford, Media Guardian 2009

Max Clifford is synonymous with British public relations. The founder of Max Clifford Associates, who is said to make an annual turnover of GBP 2,5 Million, makes sure he remains at the centre of most people`s perceptions of PR - for better or for worse.
There are many things you can say about Max Clifford: he`s a spin doctor, unethical, manipulating, ignorant and incredibly full of himself, but still: people come to him with their stories, because he`s probably the best thing that money can buy.

Max insists that these days, most of his work is keeping stories out of the paper. PR ad absurdum? The Guardian once called him a "human equivalent of the ghost containment grid in Ghostbusters". Bursting with newsworthy stories and you never know when it will explode - a fact that makes him even more powerful. His enormous influence in the business goes back to one simple tool: media relations. It`s Max` close ties to journalists that secure him his power over Fleet Street`s headlines, front pages and lead stories.

I guess he has always understood the power of networking and a good story. And with the success came the clients. Max Clifford made a fortune out of people´s willingness to exploit the private lives of not just themselves but other people as well. His actions have more than once overstepped the bounds of good taste (just think of Jade Goody`s public dying) but nevertheless: he did what he was paid for and what his clients wanted him to do.

What turns people against him is that Max himself became a celebrity and I think it`s a big part of his success. He gives interviews, visits talk shows and attends panel discussions, never failing to give his (unfiltered) side of the story. He is also very open and honest about his PR tools and techniques, even if they are ethically questionable. It`s this art of self promotion that people hate (and secretly admire) about him.

But as much as I disagree with Max Clifford`s shady techniques and his smug demeanour, I have to say one thing: Don`t hate the player, hate the game.
Max Clifford´s tactics wouldn`t work if it wasn`t for sensation seeking journalists, sleazy tabloids and glossies and most of all, millions of readers who are willing to spend a lot of money on sneaking into the lives of others. It`s apparently a part of human nature to do so and Max Clifford has only learnt how to make a business out of it.


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