There is a politician so bumbling, he accidentally fell into a river during his own contrived photo opportunity, like Miranda Hart with a mandate.
Thank heavens that this man, Boris Johnson, is only mayor of London, and not somewhere important.
The likelihood of Johnson engaging in further foolhardy press calls has increased dramatically, due to his main opponent Ken Livingstone taking bumbling to a whole new, and potentially unelectable level.
In the space of two weeks, Livingstone’s call for mayoral candidates to reveal their income and tax commitments backfired, as his own declaration was not as comprehensive as commentators would have liked.
Days later, Livingstone managed to further entangle himself in the zipper by weeping whilst watching Labour’s “Better Off With Ken” video. Not only is the video approximately eight million times less capable of jerking a tear than an episode of Countdown, spurious media stories abounded that the short film of boo-hoo faced real Londoners may in actuality have been populated by unreal actors.
Ken’s Kalamities have helped Boris bolster his lead over his rival, the latest contradiction to the adage that any publicity is good publicity. That said, with my (Dolce and Gabbana) PR hat on, it makes me wonder if media management has been well utilised in the capital’s mayoral debate. And, with my (Hat Man, Stephenson Street, Birmingham) local hat on, I wonder if media management has been used enough in the run-up to the Birmingham mayor referendum.
The efforts of the Birmingham Post and others mean the business community is engaged.
The youth mayor movement has the promise to reach out to the newly enfranchised. Sterling work has been made by the likes of Julia Higginbottom in the “Yes to a Birmingham Mayor” camp, ensuring the politically conscious have been kept updated with mayoral discussions. The extensive programme of debating events has also, as May approaches, started to engage some more of the undecided.
That still leaves, frustratingly, a large unengaged swathe of the public who feel they don’t have enough of a reason to care. The concern is, if local and national media isn’t sufficiently interested in the Birmingham mayoral debate, there’s a likelihood that the unengaged won’t read about, hear or see reasons to care.
Arguably, a weighty media communications campaign would ensure sufficient journalist interest was generated – and not just that of the local government correspondent.
In Monday’s London Evening Standard, there were six mayor stories, one trailed on the front page.
In Monday’s Birmingham Mail, there was one. It makes you wonder if the campaigns are finding the right angles to get into the news. To be honest, if the campaigns, be it for a “yes” or “no”, don’t find policies or issues that captures the wider interest, perhaps PR methodology could be used to make a difference.
Perhaps, for a simplistic example, we need Mirza Ahmed to paddle in the canal at Brindleyplace, or Liam Byrne to tattoo ‘Yes 2 Mayor’ on his infamously bald bonce. I’m serious. PRs know one brilliant image can make any campaign. Where is the defining one of this campaign?
Thought leadership is the foundation of any public relations strategy - and, we’ve been lucky to have the likes of Lords Adonis and Heseltine, both eloquently pro-mayor.