Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Who Does What? #5: The Publicist

It's that time of the year again. The day when People Magazine announces the winner of the title of Sexiest Man Alive, or as we call it at my house: Passover.  This year it goes to...
 Actor Bradley Cooper.

Of course if there was any fairness in the whole process the cover would look something like this....

Damn, who is that handsome bastard?  

Now if People Magazine was to be more accurate in their reportage, the cover would look more like this...

If you're furrowing your brow in a feeble attempt to understand what a publicist does and how they influence something as transparent and democratic as the People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive competition, then you're in luck.  I going to pour ladle-fulls of rich creamy learning into your brain-pan.

The short answer is that a publicist is a person hired to manage publicity.

The long answer is that publicists manage the relations between their client and the media, and tries to control the media's image of said client. A publicist's client can be an individual, a group, or a corporation, basically anyone or anything who wants to world to see their best side.

Now unlike agents and managers, publicists do not normally earn a percentage of their client's income, and are usually paid a monthly fee.  It's not uncommon for celebrities to have their personal publicists included on the payroll of their latest movie as one of the "perks" of stardom. 

Some publicists are specialists in handling different types of news for their clients. Some specialize in the right ways of presenting good news, like weddings, births, and the winning of awards, especially when it comes to "cash for exclusives" deals for their clients. Other specialize in handling bad news, especially scandals, like ugly divorces, arrests, and private sins becoming public knowledge. When it comes to scandal management, the name of the game is damage minimization, which means putting enough of their spin into the story to mitigate the damage it will do to their client's career.

Either way, the key to picking publicists is "Clout." Clout in this case is defined by the amount of influence a certain publicist has with the various media outlets.  This can come in three most common ways, or combinations thereof...  

1. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS: The publicist in question has many long-standing relationships with figures in the media, and those same figures trust said publicist to give them good copy.

2. HEAVYWEIGHT ROSTER: The publicist has a bounty of clients in both quantity and quality.  That means that if a media outlet wants an exclusive with a big star that will get them higher ratings or sales, then the publicist will say: "If you want that, then you better put this spin on it," and maybe get a little sugar for someone a little lower on the client totem pole.

3. TACTICAL THINKING:  This is a publicist that not only knows how to properly balance the first two forms of clout, but also knows how to spin any given story in a way that it is completely irresistible to the media.

Now when something like The Sexiest Man Alive pops up, the publicists all start jockeying for positions for their clients. Meanwhile the magazine, and its big media parent company, jockey to get something that they think will help, not only sales of the magazine, but whatever project the candidates are involved with. Once all that jockeying is finished, a winner is picked, and once again I, and my raging sexitude, is unfairly ignored.

Publicists tend to stick with clients as long as they're getting their fee, and it's usually a sure sign that someone or some company is in serious trouble, when their publicists dump them for being either beyond saving, or beyond spinning.

Okay, now that you know what publicists do, let me introduce my publicist, Mr. Seymour Buttes of the firm of Kess/Mah/Buttes.

Yep, it really is that pathetic.


  1. Is that really you?

  2. They say that Furious D is one bad mutherf...

  3. Blast Hardcheese17/11/11 12:20 pm

    Shut'yo mouth!

  4. Pulbicity....One publicist that has things goign crazy is Demi Lovato's, first teh treatment stint. Now the nov 1st pics of her and Wilmer V. I suspect her fam is not happy with that paring.

    So far since those pics she has not had a SINGLE radio/tv interview to promote her tour. Even WV dodges questions about her at the latin grammy's and last tiem she was with him was at her friend wedding, she was a bridesmaid and he was a groomsman.

  5. Hey, Hardcheese, I'm just talkin' about Furious D!

  6. People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive declaration for this year is as silly as those declarations for Damon,Reynolds, Clooney(twice) and Pitt,also twice.It is all soooo glossy and prefabricated,but it keeps the declared sexiest actor's name out there at the supermarket.None of these declarations have made these people better actors or their movies more interesting.Silly stuff.

  7. My wife has made her position clear. David Tennant is the sexiest man alive.