This blog post is going to be quite light hearted, as I delve into the film industry and have a look at which films include elements of public relations, potentially without you even realising. Most of these don’t really portray real world PR, but it’s quite interesting to see how PR is represented in films.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Don’t hate me, but I absolutely love the newest version with Johnny Depp. I love almost anything with Johnny Depp in though I won’t lie. Willy Wonka uses PR in this film to find his successor and the Golden Ticket idea is pure PR genius. You see in the film that shops are selling out of all Wonka products and the front page of all the papers is about Willy Wonka. The Golden Ticket idea increased sales dramatically and created an enormous media buzz – what more could a PR practitioner want?! Perhaps Mr. Wonka didn’t think the idea through though and will be in need of a crisis management PR campaign after the winners step inside his factory!
Sex and the City
Sex and the City is one of the first impressions of public relations that many people see. In the film (and TV series) Samantha Jones is a publicist who handles numerous major clients. Her job is shown to be attending glamorous parties, meeting huge stars and dining at the newest and most popular restaurants. Hopefully most people will go on to realise this really is not PR at all!
This great musical is filled with PR. We all know the story; fame-hungry Roxy Hart is in jail for murder and has the cunning, slick Billy Flynn representing her. He unleashes a huge PR campaign which gets Roxy off the hook. He may have lied a few times in it, faked a pregnancy and basically done unspeakable things in today’s world of PR, but it worked! So that means it’s all fine … doesn’t it …
Publicist Stu Shepard is tormented by an unseen gunman and is stood in a phone booth for basically the whole film. It’s far more exciting than it sounds. Shepard is an extremely self-centred man who works in public relations, with his main client being himself. The beginning of the film shows how he lies and manipulates people around him, such as his wife and his mistress. When he picks up the phone in Times Square’s last remaining phone booth, he is unable to hang up without risking the chance of being shot by a psychopath. The psychopath has picked him out due to the way Shepard lives his life. You can make up your own moral to this story, but it’s clear Shepard wouldn’t be in this predicament if he was acting morally!
A superhero movie with a bit of a twist – the superhero is anything but good. Hancock is disliked by the public and they are generally sick of him and his selfish actions. Even when Hancock tries to do something good, he usually ends up demolishing a building as he does it and swearing the whole way through as well. Enter PR practitioner Ray Embrey, who Hancock had coincidently saved his life earlier in the film. Hancock allows Embrey to revamp his imagine and tries to become more well-mannered. A big turning point in the film is when Hancock saves hostages from a bank robbery. The public love the new version of Hancock and the media jumps on board, heaping him with praise. Overall, a great PR job done by Embrey.
There are plenty of other films which include PR such as The Social Network, The Queen, The Devil Wears Prada and so many more!