Top 15 Movies as PR Case Studies
Following the blog post ‘PR for Darth Vader’ from my colleague Ribal Dayekh(@ribalo) from our UAE office, I would like to share with you my list of movies recommended for PR professionals. 1. ‘Wag the Dog‘ (1997) with Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman is a classic PR must-see movie for any person involved in the media business. It illustrates the role of media in the shaping of public opinion, as well as provides an excellent case of crisis management in the field of (not-very-honest) political PR. To downgrade a sexual scandal of the soon to be re-elected US President, the contingency specialists decide to fake a war with Albania, which ends up becoming a dramatic show for the whole country. 2. One of my favorite PR movie is ‘The Queen‘ (2006). This is a story of crisis management media relations of the British Queen after the death of Princess Diana. The two opposite strategies of media communication, employed by the Royal family and newly appointed Prime Minister Tony Blair, demonstrate the different tactics used for gaining the public support. 3. ‘Man of the Year‘ (2006) with Robin Williams could be an example of a political election media campaign. An extraordinary candidate completely ruins the stereotype of politicians being serious. He avoids boring speeches and transforms his debates into a funny TV show. Female viewers will be pleased to follow the romantic love story as a bonus. 🙂 4. ‘The Devil Wears Prada‘ (2006). Don’t take this list item as a silly or too girlish one. Rather try to look at this movie as an insider’s report on the fashion media business. This film adaptation reveals many, usually hidden secrets of a glossy fashion magazine’s world. I would like to warn you however that the movie is not recommended for shopaholics, as it features a great amount of high-style clothing items. 5. ‘Chicago‘ (2002) is not only a well-known musical. A talented PR manager can be easily identified in the character of the advocate played by Richard Gere. Here are few more suggestions to add the list, which were recommended by my friends and colleagues: 6. ‘Bulworth‘ (1998) starring Warren Beatty. This is a movie about a revolutionary elections campaign by Senator Bulworth, who, being depressed, orders his own assassination and starts to criticize not only his opponents’, but also his own campaign, something that brings him some truly unexpected PR results. 7. ‘Thank You For Smoking‘ (2005) starring Aaron Eckhart. A great illustration of the work of a spin-doctor, who does not deny the health risks of smoking while still wittily defending the cigarette industry in the most difficult situations, all in his own professional manner. 8. ‘Absolute Power‘ (2000), ok this is not exactly a movie but definitely worth watching. Absolute Power is a British comedy series with Stephen Fry (following him on Twitter is recommended @stephenfry) set in the offices of Prentiss McCabe, a fictional public relations company. It’s tag “spin is dead, long live PR” I think says it all. 9. ‘The Hucksters‘ (1947) with Clark Gable as a radio advertising executive is especially recommended for classic fans of movies . It is a cinematization of the advertising industry in its earlier days through a satirical Hollywood lens. 10. ‘Nixon‘ (1995) represents another movie where PR and politics merge. Anthony Hopkins takes the lead role in this biographical movie of President Richard Nixon, who shows his skills as a political operator by seizing the opportunity provided by the backlash against the antiwar movement to take the presidency in 1968. 11. ‘Radio Day‘ (Russian) (2008) – the film adaptation of stage comedy show Radio Day. If you’re a Russian speaker, watch this movie to see what radio DJs will do when there are no newsworthy events. 12. Oscar- winning ‘All The President’s Men‘ (1976) with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman is practically a documentary movie on the role the Washington Post played in the Watergate political scandal which led to President Richard Nixon‘s resignation. 13. Another Oscar-winning movie ‘Network‘ (1976) with Faye Dunaway tells the story of a TV broadcaster who created a scandal before his retirement and got fantastic popularity and ratings because of it . This is a story of the cruel TV world and its dirty secrets. 14. ‘Bobby‘ (2006) features another Anthony Hopkins appearance in a PR-related movie. Not so much for its focus on media relations, the movie is recommended because of the excellent Robert F. Kennedy speeches featured, which can be seen as a guide book for speech writing. 15. In ‘Hancock‘ (2008) a superhero played by Will Smith with a terrible public image becomes a case study for a PR professional who decides to help him correct his image. These movies don’t necessarily show the best side of the PR industry and PR practitioners, but they are enjoyable when watched with a PR hat on… and a sense of fun. I truly hope that you will continue this list in the comments section by sharing your favorite movies with a relevance to the media and PR industry.