The First Wives PR Club

 The First Wives PR Club

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) to Ann Romney and “B” (Good Show) to Michelle Obama.

Still undecided about who to vote for on November 6? Tired of thinking about tax rates and foreign policy? Just turn to Woman’s Day and US Weekly for some guidance. Women’s magazines have just been enrolled into the election battles. The result? Ann Romney and Michelle Obama are everywhere.

Woman’s Day broke the news that Michelle Obama’s favorite food is mac n’ cheese, while Ann Romney’s favorite film is The Sound of Music. Michelle told US Weekly that her favorite guilty pleasure is French fries while outlining to Good Housekeeping the Obama family’s daily exercise program. Family Circle took a poll of the ladies’ recipes: Michelle Obama’s chocolate chip cookies won over Ann Romney’s M&M cookies. Oprah has interviews with both couples in October’s O Magazine.

From a PR perspective, how and where to do the interviews? Solo, or as a couple? What to talk about, and to whom? Ann is doing most interviews with her husband Mitt and focusing on magazines such as Good Housekeeping that have a median readership age in the mid fifties. Michelle, on the other hand, is going for the hipper vote. Doing interviews as a couple but then breaking out solo, she is talking to Elle and People en Espanol.

The PR Verdict:  “B” (Good Show) to Michelle Obama and “C” (Distinctly OK) to Ann Romney. Michelle has the edge in appealing to a wider audience.

The PR Takeaway: Have your cake (or, in this case, cookies) and eat it; be traditional and hip at the same time. Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are courting older female voters by giving insights into their respective domestic bliss, but Michelle is also playing to a younger crowd, with solo interviews in their favorite magazines. Ann Romney is doing well in her established segment, but so far her appeal to young fashion- and celebrity-reading females remains untested. It may be time to stop concentrating on the base she already knows and take a leaf from her opponent’s PR handbook.

What’s your opinion of the first wives’ PR tactics? Give us your PR Verdict!

 

Two-Step Fix for Romney’s “47 Percent” Disaster

 Two Step Fix for Romneys 47 Percent Disaster

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Romney’s response to this latest setback.

Any suggestions for Mitt Romney as to how to put the genie back in the bottle? That is the question as he copes with the fallout from the now infamous “47 Percent” video, in which Romney claimed that 47 percent of the American voting population suffers from a paralyzing dependence on government support and entitlements. It’s a “victim” mentality, said Mitt as he told the faithful that nearly half of the US population is an electoral lost cause.

This taped speech at a private fundraising event was never meant to be aired publicly, but now Democrats can’t believe their luck. For Romney’s campaign, battling with accusations of being tone deaf to the economic plight of ordinary Americans, this comes at a bad time. Mitt, in his response, is holding his ground. While his views were “inelegantly” expressed, he says, they related solely to how his campaign is being structured. This was about tactical electoral strategy only.

Not a bad response, and what else could he say under the circumstances? No sense in denying the comments, but they certainly need explanation and context.

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Romney’s response to this latest setback.   His response may have blunted some of the damage to the campaign, but he needs to do more.

The PR Takeaway: Distract and Switch should be the mantra of Team Romney’s campaign for the coming days. Change the topic of the conversation by pulling wife Ann or running mate Ryan into the media to talk about something completely different. Crisis moments like these have a shorter shelf life when something else fills the vacuum. With the Democrats milking the video for all its worth, the best advice to Romney is to cede the limelight over the next couple of days – the sooner the better.

What else can Team Romney do to mitigate this damage? Give us your PR Verdict!

A Tip for Eastwood’s Next “Empty Chair” Speech:

 A Tip for Eastwoods Next Empty Chair Speech:

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Dirty Harry.

Why did Clint Eastwoood’s puzzling speech to the GOP faithful at the Republican Convention in Tampa, FL, last week get such a resounding thumbs down? Eastwood’s now famous address–talking to an empty chair–did little to capture the public imagination in the right way. It was obviously not the warm-up act Team Romney was hoping for. Was this cold shower one of Dirty Harry’s worst performances?

The reviews were not kind. Eastwood’s failed motivational opener was invariably described as “rambling” by the commentators. Even Ann Romney damned Eastwood with faint praise by saying on morning television that Eastwood did “a unique thing last night.”

Eastwood’s problem was that his speech seemed too much like hard work. Talking to an empty chair, with its overtones of Gestalt therapy, seemed better suited to the analyst’s couch than national television. Above all, the exercise diffused Eastwood’s own anger, which is what was always going to connect with the audience. Despite the botched delivery, he made a case about why he is unhappy with the present administration. It could easily have been the temperature-setter for Romney’s later key speech, but instead Romney had to claw back the audience’s attention and start afresh.

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Dirty Harry. Not a bad speech content wise, but why was its delivery so complicated?

The PR Takeaway: Speak from the heart and connect with the audience; any actor knows that. Eastwood’s speech read like an open letter to Obama, and what better way to have delivered it than to stare straight into the camera? Eastwood could have channelled the steeliness of Dirty Harry rather than taking a leaf out of the therapist’s handbook. Connecting with the audience and issuing the President with a series of ultimatums might have made Dirty Harry’s day, as well as Mitt Romney’s.

To see the speech click here.

What’s your opinion of Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” speech? Give us your PR Verdict!

Is It Wise to Mess With A Mother Of Five?

Annromney Is It Wise to Mess With A Mother Of Five?

The PR Verdict: “A” to Ann Romney and the Republicans for milking a relatively harmless comment.

Who would have thought?  Mild mannered Ann Romney moves with lightning speed?  The wife of Republican front-runner Mitt,  had the Democrats springing into damage control mode yesterday, after one of their own handed Republican strategists a PR gift.

It all started when Hilary Rosen a well-known Democratic strategist opined on CNN that Ann Romney is unlikely to connect with female voters.  “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,”  Rosen said.  “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”

Cue collective outrage!  Instantly! Anti stay at home mom!   Ann Romney tweeted in seconds “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”   From then on it was a no brainer for the Republicans who cashed in on the same drumbeat from years ago, when Hilary Clinton said she is not the sort of woman who bakes cookies.  No wonder the Democrats were running scared.

The PR Verdict:  “A” to Ann Romney and the Republicans for milking a relatively harmless comment and turning it into a media event.  Getting the Democrats on the defensive when up until now they have been in a lead position in the polls with female voters was a PR victory in any book.

PR Takeaway:  Speed is of the essence.  Ann Romney jumped in and talked of her record as a mother instantly before Rosen or Democrats could explain and contextualise.   Within a matter of hours Ann Romney was all over Fox and other media outlets.  Suddenly Democrats had no choice but to distance themselves from their own strategist (who ironically has children of her own).  Justified or not, this was opportunistic PR at its best.   Don’t mess with a mother of five.

To read more about this click here and here.

What’s your PR Verdict? How did Ann Romney do?

[polldaddy poll=6132949]