My old buddy, Eddie von Kloberg, must be spinning in his grave. As PR man to the damned, von Kloberg took pride in representation of Saddam Hussein, Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu, Zaire's Mobuto Sese Seko and Liberia's Sam Doe. Word that London is now the "world capital of reputation laundering" is spoiling Eddie’s eternal rest.
The feature deals with the extensive PR rebound of Rwanda from its genocidal past of 16 years ago to a place noted for "mountains, gorillas, crops." That transformation is due to the work of London’s Racepoint.
Cathy Pittman, managing director of Racepoint, describes her job as "feeding content and stories to journalists about the economy and culture." The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative lauded Rwanda's "excellent PR machinery." That machine succeeded in "persuading the key members of the international community that it has an exemplary constitution emphasizing democracy, power-sharing and human rights which it fully respects."
London PR firms represent unsavory characters like Saudi Arabia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Zambia, the Guardian notes. Belarus may soon join that roster if Huntsworth CEO Peter Chadlington can iron out contractual details.
The Guardian says London is blessed with a well-situated time zone and by being the home base of important international papers such as The Economist and Financial Times. An unnamed PR exec took a sour note, calling much of the PR representation as nothing but a con game. "You can't spray perfume on a turd. It will smell nice for a while, but eventually it will smell like what it is."
That may be so, but as von Kloberg used to say, "Shame is for sissies."