Boris Johnson Kanye West Harriet Harman

Introducing Personal PR Winners and Sinners – this week: Boris Johnson, Kanye West & Harriet Harman

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By Rich Leigh | Founder

February 11, 2015 | 5 min read

To introduce myself, my name is Rich Leigh and I do PR-type things. This column will be a regular look at the reputations of people in the public eye – including chief executives, politicians and other famouses – neatly dividing them into winners and sinners based on whether they've had a good week in the spotlight or a bad one.

Before I get started – if you would ever like to nominate ‘winners’ or ‘sinners’ to feature in the column based on their behaviour from the previous week, feel free by tweeting me @RichLeighPR or emailing me here. You and your company will always be credited (unless you’d prefer not to be that is).

Without further ado, I bring to you, this week’s…

Winner

Despite advice (that helpfully managed to become a matter of public record) from local officials to “get out of Dodge while [he] could”, London mayor Boris Johnson battled the ‘atrocious’ snowy conditions in Boston to continue his six-day trip that will also see him take in New York City and Washington as he meets political, academic and business leaders.

Johnson – who was born in New York and has dual-citizenship – will meet Hilary Clinton, building what could be seen as his foundation of the special relationship between our countries and a reputation for himself on foreign soil.

Despite speculation that the trip is an effort to position himself as a potential Tory leader, BoJo – replete with a woolly hat sporting the London Underground logo – had his official spokesman promise that the trip is instead focused on driving investment in London and for British business.

Uh-huh. A heroic refusal to listen to insistent officials? Check. Additionally scheduled meeting with the 2016 Democrat presidential front-runner? Check. Snaps of him standing defiantly beside a plough struggling through the snow, smirk-inducing locks hidden? Check.

Yeah, I call shenanigans, too.

Thanks to student Ashley Keir-Bucknall for suggesting Boris.

Sinner

This week, Kanye West’s latest Grammys outburst has dominated the entertainment headlines. True to previous form, the rapper interrupted the acceptance speech of album of the year winner Beck, with a later claim that Beck should give the award to Beyonce and should ‘respect artistry’. But do you know what? This won’t affect him, his reputation or future work all that much, I mean – what else did we expect of him?

Talent often wins through in instances like this, and enough people respect his ability as an artist for this to be another blip. Of COURSE he’ll do or say something stupid again sometime soon, I’m not sure there’s any advice he could be given that will prevent it.

Which leads me neatly onto the following…

Why did nobody stop the monstrosity that is the pink Labour ‘battle bus’, which will soon be touring constituencies to attract female voters?

Deputy leader Harriet Harman says she signed off on the colour itself, insisting it had to be ‘eye-catching’. She also denies that the ‘Woman to Woman’ bus is patronising, buuuut… come on.

Even if you have all the right answers on paper, you have to expect that political rivals and Twitter’s target-trained equality mob will descend with pitchforks and crudely photoshopped images within mere milliseconds.

You could argue that any and all conversation around it and Labour would be helpful with just months to go until the General Election, but I disagree – why make yourself an easy target with caricaturistic stunts open to attack, obscuring the actual message? Have these people learned nothing from The Thick of It?

Rich Leigh is the founder of new agency Rich Leigh & Company. If you spot any PR winners or sinners this week, tweet them to Rich @RichLeighPR

Boris Johnson Kanye West Harriet Harman

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