My old pal Matthew Freud is truly a legendary manipulator, stage manager and fixer; a figure, whose undoubted skills as a PR suit, moves in shadowy circles. A regular at Davos, he knows how to knit his contacts together.
There is much bitching about him, but not from me. There seems to be some sense of astonishment that Manchester won the super casino bid, beating Blackpool at the winning line. Hey, it was no surprise to me! In fact it proved that Sol Kerzner, the wheeler-dealer behind the bid, and the man who created the Sun City, had employed the right man to lobby on his behalf.
One of Matthew’s tried and tested processes is ‘cross-fertilisation’ – an old PR practice in which two publicity-hungry starlets fake an affair and allow themselves to be photographed at a particular club. Everyone gets coverage – including the club. Watch a wonderful film, “Sweet Smell of Success” which graphically immortalises this process. The plot is centred around Sidney Falco, played by Tony Curtis, a down at heal PR man who will do anything to get publicity for his clients. He sees J.J. Hunsecker (played by Burt Lancaster), a powerful New York newspaper columnist, as an outlet.
There will be much wringing of hands, and I do feel sorry for Blackpool but it’s all too late. Let’s face the facts, the winning bid had the effective operator that used his proven power to deliver the goods. There are so many PR firms trying to punch above their weight and make proimises that they can’t deliver.
It warms my heart to see a true player. Wake up people, there are only a few that can manoeuvre in circles of authority successfully, and Freud’s is one of them