There is nothing like an arrest for an activist’s PR. Even better when the activist is a celebrity. And even better still, when the media covers it big time. The trifecta goes to George Clooney.
Clooney was arrested on Friday during a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. drawing attention to the blockade of humanitarian aide by the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir. Clooney’s arrest culminated three days of well-choreographed PR.
Clooney testified to congress on Wednesday. He followed up by meeting with Hilary Clinton and dining with Obama (and David Cameron) on Thursday, all the while giving multiple media interviews and alluding to his potential arrest on Friday. By the end of the week, the media was primed and the cameras ready to roll. Given that he would be trespassing on the Embassy of Sudan’s private property, it was always going to be a great end to a three-day media blitz.
The PR verdict: “A” for Clooney. Three days of consistent press coverage with the same simple message is a PR coup. Clooney was making headlines for something more than swapping out a new girlfriend.
As he was arrested, Clooney called out to the media, “This is for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That’s all we ask”. His pleas were carried by most outlets running the story and were reinforced by his PR people. It is probably the only time Omar al-Bashir will get a mention on E! News.
What’s you PR Verdict?