There were two things that caught my attention during Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globe acceptance speech: “I beat Meryl”— sacrilege!—and the fact that she thanked her PR company.
When was the last time that happened?
A few months ago, I was discussing Taylor Swift’s intensely thorough branding with an actor friend. I mentioned my admiration for her incredibly well-thought out package – ultra-approachable, yet admirable, girl-next-door. “What a clever girl!” I said to my friend. “You mean, what a great publicist,” she shot back.
I was barely days into my PR internship at that point, so I laughed and shrugged off the comment. But last night, Jennifer Lawrence’s thank you speech made me think, and put the entire office aTwitter (that’s my terrible attempt at PR/Social Media pun). Why don’t celebrities thank their PR firms more often?
There’s a very obvious reason for that; we operate behind the scenes. Anytime that anything happens in Hollywood, there’s a PR maven reaching out to her best media contacts with the first-mover’s advantage. I’ve found that the best PR project isn’t necessarily a tightly-controlled, media-trained client, but a publicist who can turn any event or crisis into additional brand goodwill.
These days, we humanize celebrities in a way we never did before – platforms like Twitter have pioneered an opportunity for celebrities to share their most mundane thoughts. Of course, this insight into celebrity life has been attempted before (as evidenced by They’re Just Like Us! columns), but so far, social media has been the forerunner of this potentially dangerous streak. Our clients, after all, are human – there’s no predicting what any human being may ultimately do. Even the most carefully prepped client can have an off-day filled with social gaffes and word vomit; things like that happen. The best publicists find a way to gracefully acknowledge the situation and make the world think they’re choosing to laugh about it. Though as much as we pride ourselves in operating silently, It’s nice to be acknowledged for our work.
Jennifer Lawrence beat Meryl? Well, in all fairness, she did (once). She’s been publicly portrayed as capricious enough to get away with saying such things. It’s also an amazing coup for such a young actor, so cherish it while you can, Jen. You’re good peeps.
Jenn Ng – @procrast1nato2