Posts Tagged ‘beckham’

Farewell, Golden Balls

We are struggling to come to terms with the news that Lord Beckham of Ongar and Leytonstone has packed away his Adidas Predator LZ boots. His like will not be seen again. His footballing and soccer achievement is extraordinary: who could forget the stunning injury-time free-kick booking England a place in the 2002 World Cup finals salvaging a 2-2 draw against Greece?

The announcement of his retirement has been beautiful managed. No leaks; just a huge surprise, hijack the news agenda (much to the chagrin of PRs with non Beckham related stories to tell). Golden Balls has proved yet again that he possesses a miraculous gift for wrangling the media. The squeaky voiced, blond curtained young hopeful has matured into a personality of considerable substance, a man at ease with public scrutiny.

We don’t know yet what the grand plan for continued world dominance is, but rest assured there is one. Becks could easily become a sporting politician,  a fashion icon or a powerful charity champion. It’s a mark of his PR genius that he has not declared a future direction, instead his minders have cleverly fostered  an atmosphere of fevered speculation. Hours of radio, acres of newsprint and tens of thousands of tweets wonder about future direction for Brand Beckham, creating the perfect backdrop for whatever he announces next.  By leaving the Game, Beckham won’t have the usual tactic of refreshing public interest by joining a new club available to him. But his hype machine rises above this, and it’s certain that his new endeavours will be tacitly exploited for maximum effect.

Beckham has established himself as a great British brand with proven worth. The media needs Beckham, and the brand needs the oxygen of publicity more. Let’s hope the confidence of the last 5 years will sustain. Some find the dwindling interest in stars of yester year hard to stomach. Brand Beckham must proceed with care. Desperate, ill thought tactics, or, heaven forbid, poor stunts and rash licencing will damage the fabric of success. The time and effort to fix any short term deals is likely to be expensive.

So, enjoy the flattering eulogies while they last. The first step into the brave new world is the hardest.

Tiger: Out of the Woods?

Tiger Woods is preparing his comeback and the first step on his road to recovery is taking place tomorrow. It’s not clear what the event tomorrow morning is, other than it isn’t a press conference. Many are suggesting that it will be a day of apologies. I’m not convinced. It may be speculation, a leap in the dark, but I would suggest that this tenebrous public outing, in the presence of a few yes men, is aimed at helping Tiger take back control of his life.

If he is setting out to refocus the world’s attention on Tiger the golfer rather than Tiger the philanderer, he is unlikely to want to apologise for the very thing he wants to avoid. It also helps to remember that the current trend is for not saying sorry at all. Mel Gibson didn’t, David Letterman didn’t, Beckham didn’t, Blair didn’t. So why should Tiger Woods be any different? I think that, tomorrow, Tiger will set about redefining the word sorry. Read the rest of this entry »

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris Hilton: was it a stunt?

Could the tabloid-friendly sight of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris Hilton in a Los Angeles nightclub the night before the footballer’s Real Madrid deal was confirmed be a coincidence? Originally published on the Guardian website

Call me a cynical old publicist but I have to admit that I am hardly surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo spread across the tabloids today with Paris Hilton tucked under his arm at a club in Los Angeles.

It’s a marriage made in franchise heaven - the world’s most expensive footballer and the headline-grabbing socialite together on the eve of Ronaldo’s ascension to the giddy heights of football godhood – and an act of sublime stuntsmanship. It cannot be a coincidence.

Bear in mind that Real Madrid is almost certainly banking on being able to get more than a bit of loose change back from Ronaldo’s £80m price tag – not to mention his mooted wages of £200,000 per week – on the back of selling shirts, and it makes perfect sense that Ronaldo is to be found in an American nightclub… the night before the deal is announced.

They want to hook the American Latino market, which is where the US’s huge soccer audience is to be found. They need Ronaldo to follow in the golden boots of David Beckham. What better way than to place him at the jugular of America’s uber-celebrity, Paris Hilton?

Rumour has it that the deal was put in place a year ago - Real Madrid have had time, then, to plan an assault on the media to hurtle their player into the celebrity stratosphere. Ronaldo’s nightclub dalliance is simply the first step on the road to turning him into the biggest brand in the world of soccer. Already today, by playing the Paris card, he’s knocked Becks off the tabloid front pages in his latest photoshoot in his grundies.

All the ingredients have been carefully crafted and placed in the Petri dish of fame. Over the coming weeks we are going to see a new mutant ogre celebrity emerge from the stew that’s been cooked up.

Football is less and less a game of two halves – it is becoming more like a 3D chess set. On the lowest level is the game itself. Above that are the great players and their wives and girlfriends. But on the topmost level are the superstar money-spinners like Beckham, who hardly even need to play football anymore to earn everyone a living – and now Cristiano Ronaldo is clawing his way up there too.

It’s game on for the press. The planning phase is over and the celebrity games have begun. You can forget the likes of SuBo and the reality freakshow turns – Cristiano Ronaldo is where the uber money’s at. This is the million dollar deal.