Paula Broadwell: The Invisible “Other Woman”

 Paula Broadwell: The Invisible Other Woman

The PR Verdict: “B” for Paula Broadwell and her PR strategy of morphing from the “other woman” to the “invisible woman.”

Any guesses as to what life is like at the home of Paula Broadwell? For anyone who has missed the latest  “spy who loved me” headlines, Broadwell is the scholar, athlete, and biographer who has been named as the “other woman” in the life of now-retired general David Petraeus. Fooling around with Broadwell cost Petraeus his job as head of the CIA. We assume he will bounce back, but what of her?

It’s not yet clear where and when the headlines will stop. Apparently the FBI came across Petraeus’s indiscretion while investigating emails that Broadwell sent to a third party. Broadwell, in an apparent fit of jealousy, allegedly threatened another woman via email who, because the emails allegedly concerned the head of the CIA, reported it to the FBI. Some weeks later the career of the Chief Spook was over.

It’s not clear what Broadwell should do now. Is it time for her to set the record straight? As a forty-year-old mother of two, she presumably wants to preserve her credibility. Her previously well-received biography of Petraeus is now viewed with cynicism and Broadwell’s new uncomfortable fame is as Petraeus’s nemesis. If she talks, it will only add fuel to the fire.

The PR Verdict: “B” for Paula Broadwell and her PR strategy of morphing from the “other woman” to the “invisible woman.”

The PR Takeaway: Wait until the smoke clears. Sometimes the only thing to do is lay low and wait for better visibility.  At the moment, l’affaire Petraeus remains highly volatile. With new parties being added to the mix and congressional hearings still to take place, Broadwell needs to maintain maximum flexibility. Having disappeared entirely from public view, the media is on the lookout for her, but for the moment the best advice is to resist any temptation to set the record straight and be completely incommunicado. It’s better to read the press coverage from the comfort of a getaway location. Now is not the time for visibility.

An Affair to Remember – Or Sue Over

Queen Sofia 120x150 An Affair to Remember   Or Sue Over

The PR Verdict: “B”(Good Show) for Queen Sofia.

Life is short; have an affair! So says the tagline for dating website Ashley Madison. The site that links members seeking extramarital affairs now finds itself in the headlines. While Ashley Madison thinks infidelity provides endless fun, the Queen of Spain does not agree – she is suing the website for “damage to her honor and dignity.”

The site is known for its provocative advertisements. The latest featured a doctored photo of the Spanish monarch with her royal arms draped around a semi-naked man, with the promise “Now you no longer have to spend the night alone.” The ad, widely believed to be cashing in on rumors of King Juan Carlos’s philandering, led Queen Sofia to promptly file suit.

The news comes in the same week that a Spanish waiter and a Belgian housewife lost legal bids to prove they are the illegitimate children of the 74-year-old king. Ashley Madison previously ran a similar ad using a Photoshopped picture of the King flanked by two models with the tagline, “The best place to ‘hunt’ for an adventure.” At the time, King Juan turned the other cheek and took no legal action. The ball is now in Sofia’s court, and she’s throwing it back hard.

The PR Verdict: “B” (Good Show) for Queen Sofia. As a warning shot, this sends the signal she intended.

The PR Takeway: It’s okay not to go “all the way”; sometimes starting a legal action is enough in itself, even if you don’t intend to finish what you started. The Queen has some measure of public sympathy on her side with no whiff of scandal, unlike her husband. As unlikely as this case is to go to court, she has fired a warning shot that she will defend her reputation. In so doing, she has also taken the attention away from her husband’s recent travails in court. Her actions might be the game and conversation changer both King and Queen were seeking.

To read more, click here.

Should John Edwards’s Mistress Tell All?

 Should John Edwardss Mistress Tell All?

The PR Verdict: “D” for Rielle Hunter, John Edwards’s mistress.

Rielle Hunter, former mistress of Senator John Edwards and mother of his love child, is ready for her moment in the sun. Having previously been moved to and from various safe houses to avoid media scrutiny, as though she was in a witness protection program, Hunter is now poised for interviews. The Justice Department has confirmed it will not retry the case of campaign finance fraud against her former beau, and Hunter’s publicist says she will now end her “silence.”

Hunter is no stranger to the media. A filmmaker herself, she bared all in an interview with GQ in 2010. Describing her affair with Edwards as  a “magnetic force field,” she told readers, “I know he loves me… I have never had any doubt at all about that.”

Hunter is setting the record straight with interviews on ABC’s  “20/20,” and a host of other media appearances. What’s new? Her tell-all book, What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me. Hunter’s PR said, “Ms. Hunter is looking forward to speaking the truth, and we believe [interviewer] Chris Cuomo will allow her story to be told with candor and respect.”

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Rielle Hunter and her forlorn stab at publicity. Hasn’t her moment passed?

PR Takeaway:  Choosing the right moment is just as important as realizing when that moment has passed. Despite her claim that she remains devoted to Edwards, Hunter risks pulling jurors’ reactions out of the woodwork and reigniting lurid details from the trial (and talk of Edward’s deceased wife Elizabeth) that Team Edwards is presumably keen to put behind it. Making the transition from “the other woman”  to something more neutral is where Hunter’s PR salvation lies. Our suggestion: Follow the Camilla Parker-Bowles PR template on how to rehabilitate an image.

What’s your PR Verdict–should Rielle Hunter capitalize on her claim to fame or move on? Tell us in Speak Your Mind, below.

Have you slept with JFK? Mimi Alford and “Once Upon a Secret”

mimialford3 Have you slept with JFK? Mimi Alford and Once Upon a Secret

The PR Verdict: "A" for Grandma Mimi

Hands up if you HAVEN”T slept with JFK?

Membership of the small club of amours who JFK turned down, seems to have dwindled even further, given the recent revelations of former intern Mimi Alford. Mimi, now a 69-year-old grandmother, has written a tell-all book called Once Upon a Secret, currently blitzing the morning chat shows.

Mimi’s revelations concerning her 18-month affair make racy reading.  While she concedes that it was not a romantic affair, JFK did teach her a thing or two.  Readers will be pleased to know he was generous in encouraging her to share her recently acquired skills with top aides who needed occasional relaxation.  She helpfully adds JFK had a playful side, playing with rubber ducks in his bathtub.

The PR Verdict: “A” for Grandma Mimi. Considering that almost everyone seems to have slept with JFK, Mimi has done an excellent job generating news buzz, despite an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu for the rest of us.

Despite the absence of a stained blue dress, Mimi has captured the airwaves. “When you keep a secret, and when you keep silent about something, you do it because you think it’s keeping you safe, but in fact, it’s deadly,” she said in one of her many interviews.   With alchemy, Mimi has transformed her affair from decades ago into gold. Clearly some secrets are more profitable than others.

What’s your PR Veridct? Tell us your rating.

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