The FBI isn’t normally associated with successful product launches but it seems to have outdone itself with the use of the classic PR strategy: the celebrity spokesman.
Yesterday’s media was saturated with the news that actor Michael Douglas has been enlisted to deter securities fraud and step up snitching on insider trading. The campaign, including public service announcements, has the former Wall Street Gordon Gekko, warning that “the movie was fiction but the problem is real.”
The FBI got the placement they needed. Front page of the WSJ, extensive coverage in the financial media and saturation in the social media space. The launch was topped off with an announcement that the FBI is actively building cases against 120 individuals. It seems the snitch hotline is working.
The PR Verdict: “A” for a launch that wouldn’t normally generate this much attention. From content, to placement, to the call-to-action (snitch on insider traders), the message was clear and unequivocal.
There is something compellingly ironic about Michael Douglas being the key spokesperson against Wall Street foul play. In press interviews around the launch, Douglas mentioned that since the film originally came out, bankers and traders continue to walk up to him in Manhattan and congratulate him as Gordon Gekko, like a modern day hero. Douglas said he is still surprised by their reaction. Don’t they realise Gekko was the villain in the movie? The campaign couldn’t be coming at a better time.