Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hancock PR

As you can tell, GRPR has been enjoying the slower pace of summer. To follow up on beach reading, I now turn to movies.

You've probably seen or are at least aware of the summer flick Hancock, which stars Wil Smith as a super hero who gets PR counsel to improve his public image.

I haven't seen the movie yet to have a fully formed opinion. I do know past Hollywood characterizations of the PR profession have been stereotypical, portraying PR pros as thoughtless hacks concerned only with spin and deception for selfish gain. Indeed, the fact that the PR guy in Hancock is a hero and the work of PR is depicted in a straightforward way is described as "weird" by Jon Fine of Business Week in his Fine on Media blog post about the movie.

One local PR pro has asked me my opinion of the film, but also offered his own thoughts that I find worth forwarding: "Sometimes we try to manage people who truly believe they are super heroes - but in reality have flaws (just like Hancock) that we must work around to be effective."

Indeed, how many of us have worked with powerful and/or talented prima donnas? How often does public perception of a public figure improve because of the behind the scenes, humble rationality of a PR counsel?

It will be difficult to know if viewers of Hancock will see PR in a different and more respectful way. It is only one film among legions. I also suspect more talk will be about Will Smith and the special effects than about the PR profession.

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