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Here PDL AE rant of the week

DateTuesday, October 21, 2014 at 12:13PM

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. In his excellent new book “What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity” - due in stores and on the Internet on November 1st - Jason Vines takes the reader through a labyrinthine journey, oh hell, let’s call it for what it is – a roller-coaster ride of exhilarating highs and ball-busting lows - while regaling us with stories from one of the most colorful PR careers in the modern era.

Vines, who for one of his first memorable jobs as a kid back in Pella, Iowa, picked up after elephants and horses during the berg’s famous “Tulip Festival” parade, and as Vines puts it, “From that moment forward I was destined to clean up other people’s **** for a living…” went on to serve clients at Chrysler, Nissan, Ford (during the Firestone tire debacle), DaimlerChrysler (during the German occupation), Cerberus-owned Chrysler (briefly, during the Private Equity ruination helmed by the relentlessly incompetent Bob Nardelli), Compuware and even Zondervan, a Bible company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Throughout the book Vines takes us inside the business where no one has gone before – unless you were there – and it’s simply fascinating, because modern PR-wrangling involves backroom brawls, threatening conversations, a (very) few moments of unbridled joy, and enough stupid human tricks and wild-ass predicaments to last a lifetime.

I’m not sure what our AE readers have come to understand about PR through my columns, but I’ve tried to shed light on the backroom brawls and unbelievable shenanigans that go on behind the scenes in this business as much as I can, and even then I’ve only touched the surface. But Vines’ new book takes you right inside the swirling maelstrom of **** that too often defines modern Public Relations, and it’s both eye-popping to behold and mesmerizing at the same time. Like a train wreck that you can’t avert your eyes from.

It may be surprising to some who are new to the whole Public Relations game, but the inner workings of big-league PR are usually in direct contrast to the rigidly controlled, politically correct images that PR handlers so carefully craft for their CEO charges.
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