Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Good Publicity Starts At Home

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Publicity Starts At Home

Chapter five of Stuart Ewen's,"PR!", touches on the notion of where does good public relations start from. This notion is introduced by Ewen through a statement made by Ivy Lee a long time public relations representative of John D. Rockefeller, which states:

"Publicity is not a game; it is a science. The difference between the two is as wide as the discrepancy between a press agent and a doctor of publicity. The function of a press agent is to put things across. The problem of a doctor of publicity is to induce his patient to behave in such a way as to commend himself unto the approval of a good city editor."(p84)
Lee's statement proposes that good publicity is more then just giving a client a remedy and telling them what to do. Good publicity requires the willingness and sincerity of the client to try and make the plan work. Looking deeper into this statement it seems as if Lee also believed that good publicity comes from the client first.

It is the client's face that the public see's and it is the clients behavior that the public reacts to. A publicist no matter how good they are can not change the image of a client into a positive one if the client is not willing to change his/herself. If the willingness to change their image does not come from their selves then they are just merely puppets, that can be compared to Walt Disney's Pinocchio.

This in the end hurts the client because not only do they become puppets pulled by the strings of their "doctor's of publicity". But the charade all turns into a show for the public eyes to see, causing negative feedback because of their lack of sincerity. Which in the end makes for bad public relations over all.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very nice post. I am not sure of the Pinocchio comparison, but it is very creative. Public relations firms are not puppet masters and firms are not puppets. However, the danger of lying is a crucial point.

You have raised Lee's key point: Publicity is not enough, lies will be exposed; the client needs to change his behavior with an eye towards public opinion.

2/23/2009 8:14 PM  

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