Without fear or favour, Richard J. Hillgrove VI tips the tables up on world leaders, brands and countries who all often think they can hide behind the smoke and mirrors via their communications professionals. Bang On takes a full throttle, punk approach to dissecting and analysing modern PR and marketing. It's not for the faint hearted....
Wayne Rooney kicks off again – but why isn’t he being heard?
Wayne Rooney is throwing his toys out of the pram like North Korea's Kim Jong-Un.
But instead of appearing to sulk for England and giving us the silent treatment, he should be making an immediate statement about his latest embarrassing escapade – and more.
Rooney has form when it comes to extra-marital sex, so a simple statement alone is not going to cut it.
He needs to do something that underlines how much his family means to him. Give Coleen a £12,500 Cartier love ring and find a meaningful way to renew his vows, recapture the feelings that had him propose prematurely in a petrol station.
Whatever it takes. This apology needs to go way beyond past efforts over the years.
In 2004, when it came out he’d repeatedly visited a Liverpool brothel for sex with prostitutes including a 48-year-old grandmother known as Auld Slapper, he was quick off the mark with a personal statement.
“Foolish as it now seems I did on occasions visit massage parlours and prostitutes. I now regret it deeply and hope people may understand that it was the sort of mistake you make when you are young and stupid. It was at a time when I was very young and immature.”
So why the silence now? Wayne appears to be doing his own PR, Kim Jong Un style.
Meanwhile, it’s Coleen who’s dropping the bombs and commanding the headlines as she expects their fourth child to join Kai, Klay and Kit.
Could the expected new baby, announced on August 18, have set big Roo off? If he’s acting out like child No 5, it’s understandable.
He may have hit the heights of sporting and financial success but he did so under the 24/7 glare of both family and national media.
He hasn't had much opportunity to be the Big Swinging Dick that his £90m haul should have afforded him. That's one trophy that's eluded him.
He left his boyhood club Everton at 18 for fame and glory, but he never left his boyhood sweetheart. He and Coleen met at the age of 12 before beginning a relationship at 16.
This isn’t a Daily Mail Middle England story of indiscretion and infidelity. Wayne probably can't imagine a world without Coleen. Still, part of him is very likely singing the words of Queen’s 'I Want to Break Free', very loudly.
The trouble is, Wayne has always shown an immaturity and always manages to get caught with his pants down.
Like now, caught at the wheel of another woman’s car after a club night out. The player was charged with drunk driving and released on bail. He’s due to appear at Stockport Magistrates' Court on 18 September - the day after his first return to Old Trafford since he left for the Toffees.
More damaging seems to be the fact that he was driving 29-year-old Laura Simpson’s car after they were seen “kissing and hugging”.
This time, his PR people haven’t exactly proved to be the rapid response unit he might have expected as Laura Simpson sold her side of the story to The Sun on Sunday.
She’s been telling everyone she’s “not a marriage wrecker” and asking Coleen to forgive him because it was just “harmless fun”.
Last October, Wayne announced that his sports management, the Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group, were launching a PR division, Triple S Communications. The new arm has Mark Whittle, former head of media relations at the Football Association, at the helm.
One of the three clients listed on the group’s website under Talent Management is Coleen Rooney, who they describe as a fashion designer, and it’s Coleen who’s on the attack.
Coleen has reportedly let it be known through friends that she’s taken off her £450,000 wedding rings and has even spoken out to tell Laura Simpson she has nothing to be sorry for.
Closer Magazine reported: ”Pregnant Coleen Rooney tells friends her marriage is OVER after she fled to her parents’ with the kids”.
The Sun reported: “Coleen Rooney fears husband Wayne is keeping other girls secret after Everton star was caught out with Laura Simpson”.
The Daily Mail reported: “Coleen Rooney 'is seen without her wedding ring' amid love-split rumours after husband Wayne's drunken night”.
The Mirror reported last night: “Coleen Rooney 'ditches wedding rings' fuelling speculation that marriage to Wayne Rooney could be over”.
Coleen’s PRs have been forensic and transparent in telling us ‘what Coleen did next’, leaving the women to fight it out while their other client, Wayne, is kept well away.
His reckless behaviour – earlier this year he wiped out £500,000 on roulette and blackjack in just two hours – may be a sign of deeper troubles.
He's suffered the ego blow of dropping from the heights of Premier League Champion where he became Manchester United’s top goal scorer of all time and commanded a £300,000 a week salary.
Now he’s back at Everton, where he started in the youth team at the age of nine. That’s like expecting a sniper to come back from Afghanistan and return to normal living.
He’s past his peak at 31, and I’m sure that in his heart of hearts he feels too young to be ‘giving something back to Everton’. In the City, he’d still be a good ten years off hitting his stride.
It doesn’t seem like Wayne’s thinking rationally. He certainly doesn’t appear to be strategising now that he’s past his sporting prime.
OK, it's not like he can easily slide into modelling men's underwear, like Becks. It’s as if he feels his only option is to take a leaf out of Tom Hardy’s book in Legend, the film about the Krays, and do a "fucking nuts" number.
Now, from a PR point of view, this time it looks like the Rooneys are playing this out as an end to their marriage. Symbolically, Coleen is doing just that by taking off her rings.
So they 'separate', have a cooling down period with the family split up. Then at some key point, in true Danny Dyer style, Coleen will slowly 'bring him back', but to quote Dyer's wife "not do his laundry".
That’s because this isn’t about setting up a new life with someone else and Wayne expecting to co-parent with some girl from a nightclub.
It's just another episode involving a man-child in need of attention, embarrassing with a capital E and very poor timing but nothing capable Coleen can't handle.
Bang On to Richard on email email@example.com and Twitter @6hillgrove
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