The People’s Prince

 The Peoples Prince

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Prince Harry – excuse us, Captain Wales.

It’s a long way from Las Vegas to Afghanistan. That’s the distance Prince Harry has come from the mortifying nude photos that made headlines a few months ago to the somber, candid interviews he did this week as the prince’s tour of duty in Afghanistan came to a close.

Harry gave a series of interviews to world media, and in them, he seemed happiest when speaking about his time as “Captain Wales,” as he is known in his military unit. Rather than bragging about his ability to be a regular bloke, he was relishing it.

Of course he was asked about those revealing photos from Las Vegas, and Harry’s answer was PR perfection. “I let myself down, I let my family down,” he said. “But it was probably a classic example of me being too much army, and not enough prince.” Nice one! For a royal scandal, there could be no better solution than an honorable stint in the military. It is after all, the great leveller.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Prince Harry , excuse us Captain Wales and the art of humility.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Sincerity is the PR buzzword. Lance Armstrong’s maneuver of confessing about doping to Oprah Winfrey largely flopped because of his complete lack of heartfelt emotion. By contrast, Prince Harry comes off as human. The Vegas scandal? It’s what people his age do all the time. The military? He’s honored and wishes he could continue. The Crown hasn’t had an easy time of PR management of late but sincerity can save the day. The trouble with Harry? After this media blitz? None at all.

Guest Column: The Trouble With Prince Harry? None At All

 Guest Column: The Trouble With Prince Harry? None At All

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Prince Harry.

The headlines are too easy: “The Trouble With Harry.” “Dirty Harry.” Prince Harry’s escapade in Las Vegas—a strip poker game that ended with photos of a naked royal—was almost a gift to the tabloids. And yet the Crown may have a PR ace up its sleeve in Harry.

Harry has always been the heir apparent for royal scandal. As third in line for the throne, the pressure to conform to royal standards of propriety is relatively low. Need we go into his father’s anatomical declarations of love for Camilla Parker Bowles? Please, let’s not.

And yes, the young prince occasionally acts out. But this latest adventure had a curious side effect: Harry’s generation seems smitten with him. He is like his peers, caught in some NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) photos. Among Harry’s generation, fame—in any context—is gold. Sealing the turn from scandal to success was Harry’s appearance at a charity event, where he acknowledged his escapade with self-effacing humor (read about it here). Scandal averted, Harry is now the unlikely hero.

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Prince Harry. If Buckingham Palace is smart, they’ll continue to rap Harry’s knuckles—and keep him in front of his adoring public, continuing his mother’s legacy: Could he become the People’s Prince?

The PR Takeaway: Mini-scandals can move the PR dial. After doing something naughty but harmless, a public appearance for charity and self-effacing humor are the golden tickets to winning the public’s, and the media’s, hearts. The ploy was used to excellent effect by Fred Willard in the US; days after the actor was caught with his pants down in an X-rated movie theater, he joked about the incident brilliantly on late night TV. Prince Harry should continue to do good works, which offset his occasional lad-like behavior; both bring a younger generation closer to the Crown.

Is it Embarrassing to be a Friend of Donald Trump?

romney trump 460x307 300x200 Is it Embarrassing to be a Friend of Donald Trump?

The PR verdict: “C” for Team Romney doing its best to keep Trump at a polite distance.

Is it embarrassing to be a friend of Donald Trump? That must be the question the Romney campaign is currently pondering.  Instead of dominating the airwaves with his victory in the Texan primary, Mitt Romney found himself in the uncomfortable position yesterday of responding to questions about his pal Donald Trump while both were on stage at a Las Vegas fundraiser.

“The Donald” resurrected yesterday the now widely discredited red herring that the President was not born in the United States.  Before appearing with Romney at the fundraiser, The Donald took to the airwaves and told CNN “a lot of people don’t think it was an authentic (birth) certificate.”  Sounding like a conspiracy theorist claiming the lunar landing never happened, he added, “CNN won’t report it but many people do not believe it was authentic.”

Trump just raised over $600,00 for Romney and is now working on another $300,000.  His fund raising efforts clearly matter but Trump’s ongoing nuttiness about Obama’s birth certificate could potentially blow Romney’s campaign off course. Conservative columnist George Will described Trump as a “bloviating ignoramus” on weekend television while Romney supporters are wondering what the Trump association serves, with one commenting in yesterday’s NY times, “once you get past Trump’s hair there is no substance.”

The PR verdict: “C” for Team Romney doing its best to keep Trump at a polite distance.  Romney via his team has said he has no issue with the President’s birthplace.  Further cold shouldering might bring the Donald into line.

PR Takeaway:  “Cold and Dignified” is sometimes the best PR approach.  Avoiding photo ops with The Donald and giving only strictly timed sound bites with the self styled mogul is a good idea.  To dilute appearances of a close friendship, insist next time that any appearance with Romney and the Donald includes other celebrity supporters being interviewed at the same time.  While The Donald’s fundraising helps, a close PR association doesn’t.  This is one case where some polite distance is called for.

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