A girl in the magical world of PR!

Are you PR professional? a PR student thinking "how on earth am I gonna make it in this industry?"Whatever you are you might find something interesting here...! This blog will be updated in a weekly basis with all the PR issues that interest us! (In simple words! Otherwise go read a book!) Welcome!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PR and political campaigns - "Yes we can (?)"

"In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? "
                                                   Barack Obama

I once read that if you want to be a president or a prime minister you need 10% talent and 90% good PR. After this rather controversial comment I started thinking about all these politicians that managed to win difficult political battles and to emerge in the top political level of their countries, but at the end it was proved that they had absolutely 0% talent. That equals 100% good Public Relations? The power that the industry has is not exactly fresh news, especially for us. Some may call it manipulation of the masses. I’ll just say it is the power of communication. Let’s take the case of Barack Obama. He was considered the hope of America, the “light of the future” (god I’d make an excellent journalist), or even the new Martin Luther King. All these before he was elected. At the moment, he is the president of the USA. So what? 

A definition of Public Relations (among others) is the building of relationships with audiences and usually the words “persuade” and “manipulate” are in the same sentence. Let’s take a look on what Obama’s PR team did that made him tha most talked about person in the planet back in 2008. First of all,  Barack Obama had one of the largest PR campaigns ever made and he achieved some great things. Like the fact that he attracted the most young voters in the history of the USA. How that happened? Social media. Does this ring a bell? Of course it does. The PR team knew the importance of approaching the right audience with the right tools. He created a webiste that had a link to his blog and he took full advantage of Facebook, Twitter Youtube and even Myspace. I am sure that if you followed him at that time in any of that social netwrking sites you'd have been impressed by his activity and his inspirational content. The guy knew what he was doing. And that takes us to the highlight of the campaign. The Americans had just exited a very difficult period of their history and Obama played the role of the savior. So he needed to be presented as one. And then is when he invented the phrases that accompanied his posters: "hope", "change" and "yes we can". But, could he? It doesn't even matter. 

The point of all these was to manipulate (I know you probably don't like this word but in this case, I dare you to find a better one..) the crowd that wanted to believe in better days, And he made it. He was elected the president of the USA but unfortunately nothing changed. Some even say that it's even worse than before. In my previous post I wrote about whether PR has undermined the trust in Politics and my opinion was no. Because no matter how good your PR team is, if you can't support the image that has been created for you, then nothing can't.

P.S. : Barack I might be a little bit harsh on you but if this helps: Yes, I believed you too at that time!


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  2. Seriously? You think things are worse now than when Bush was in office? Let's see a war that cost precious lives needlessly and billions of dollars spent...it never ceases to amaze me that all of the nay sayers that are griping about President Obama nary had a word to say when Bush was running the country into the ground. Go figure!