Nick Candy, described by the Financial Times as London’s “property tycoon,” agreed to be the subject for this weekend’s column Lunch with the FT. The article is ideally an opportunity for the subject to show a less rehearsed, more informal side. So what did Candy talk about? “Fast cars, famous friends, and the super-wealthy,” said the article’s intro. Too bad Candy forgot that no one likes a side of showoff with lunch.
As one half of the property developing team of Candy and Candy, Nick, with brother Christian, is changing the face of London real estate. Their latest project, One Hyde Park, is host to Russian oligarchs and the most expensive real estate in the world. Critics abound when it comes to the brothers. The chief accusation? Parvenu namedroppers who have struck lucky and whose love of publicity borders on the maniacal.
Candy responds in the interview that while he and his brother care about the brand of Candy and Candy, they surprisingly pay little attention to the PR strategy. The brand, he claims, is about luxury, and as if to prove it, Candy relentlessly drops names during the interview. Among them is FT’s own editor Lionel Barber, who he describes as a “friend.” He mentions attendance at Davos and outlines his coming week of global travel. The article ends with an embarrassing aftertaste: after the lunch, Barber informs the journalist that he barely knows Nick Candy.
THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Nick Candy and his firm’s PR image. A tough PR lesson learned the hard way.
THE PR TAKEAWAY: Gravitas beats brashness. For a major international property developer, this was an embarrassing article, and being caught out by the editor of the Financial Times was the final coup de grace. In tone and content, this entire interview misfired. For two brothers who started as brash developers, they now need to craft a PR image that is more trustworthy. The absence of any clear messaging in the interview was clear. Candy’s admission that they pay no attention to press and PR strategy might just be the unexaggerated admission in an interview sure to prompt more criticism – and indigestion.
To read the interview, click here.