Every movie hero or heroine faces a problem that needs to be fixed. There’s always an obstacle. As I caught up on some movies over the holidays, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of advice I would dole out in these situations.
Now, these characters don’t really resemble the clients ECPR currently represents. We don’t have any spider-like superheroes or Guardians of the Galaxy, and I don’t believe there are “master builders” on our roster either. But suspend belief with me for a moment, and let’s examine how some public relations strategies could have helped a few of our favorite movie characters from the past year.
Minor spoiler alert: I’ve tried to keep the hypotheticals high-level, but there may be some light spoilers below.
Oh, Nick Dunne—my favorite “did he do it, or did he not do it” character of 2014. He really could have benefited from not only an attorney from the start, but a PR team. It would have been particularly helpful for him to have media training, which can also help with general public speaking, from the onset. During the disappearance of his wife, he was bound to get some tough questions at press conferences, and he did. A PR team could have helped him think through those tough questions and be a little more prepared to answer them. He could have also taken a proactive approach to media instead of constantly reacting to the situation.
His eventual attorney, Tanner Bolt, addresses some of this about halfway through the whole ordeal, but Nick could have certainly used some additional image work. The difference is that PR is not about putting on an act; it’s more about understanding the most effective way to communicate a message.
No one in the land understood Maleficent. She was labeled as an evil, heartless fairy who wished nothing but ill will on those around her, especially one particular infant princess. But there was a lot more going on in that horned-head of hers. This situation would have been a great opportunity for a profile piece on the former protector of the forest kingdom.
There were a lot of misunderstandings about the current situation, which could have been cleared up much faster. If Maleficent would have been willing to open up a bit and share her experiences and love for the forest, perhaps the kingdom would have understood her more and many of the troubles from the movie could have been avoided.
The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies
Without a doubt, the thing that Bilbo and his dwarf friends lacked the most was communication amongst themselves and with their allies. A full PR campaign would have helped their cause from the beginning by outlining the history of the Lonely Mountain and the dwarves’ claim to it. Sure, that might have provided more details to their enemies, but it would have also strengthened the support of their allies. In fact, if Thorin had been open to building a coalition between the dwarves, the elves and the people, his journey may have been much easier. Alas, it seems we were destined to wait until another hobbit arrived on the scene to see that kind of unity behind a cause in Middle Earth.
Granted, if all movie plots included a layer of good PR, that would reduce some of the angst our heroes and heroines faced. And in the world of Hollywood, where’s the fun in that?
Vice President, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations