H&K...poor value for dictators..?
There's an online publication called Minivan News. You might be surprised to hear, however, that it's not where you'd go to pick up all the latest on the smaller end of the four-wheeled load carrier market, but where you'd go to get independent news on the Maldives. Odd that.
Anyway, it comes to my attention for its rather critical look at the work Hill & Knowlton's London office has been doing for President Gayoom, leader (some say brutal dictator) of the island paradise and honeymoon destination of millions.
Apparently, "after two years of service to the government, they [H&K] are yet to garner any positive press coverage for Gayoom, who is still derided in the British media as a tin-pot autocrat." Maybe, sometimes, you just can't polish a turd.
What's funny though is not that the article questions whether H&K, ethically, should be involved with such a regime, but "whether President Gayoom is getting good value for money from his PR firm" (H&K are taking, the article claims, a "whopping" £13,000 a month of Maldavian taxpayers' money).
Strikes me that when you're dealing with a brutal dictator like Gayoom, a less than positive campaign review might have slightly more serious consequences than you're used to. Tim Fallon Practice Head for Corporate Affairs at H&K London (and specialist in "working with commercial and international organisations on national and global reputation issues") is pictured looking suitably nervous...