Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz (is there a shortened form?) gave the BBC a surprising interview yesterday, calling for change in her native Saudi Arabia.
From her London base, the daughter of King Saud, former ruler of Saudi Arabia, identified five needed reforms for the kingdom. Radical in scope they included the constitution, divorce, education and social services. She also criticised the current chaperone system for women as “infantilizing”, turning Saudi women into “a burden on their men and on society.”
The urgency of her calls came undone when she added in the interview that she is opposed to women driving, urging a delay “until we are educated enough and until we have the necessary laws to protect us.”
The PR Verdict: “C” for the Princess and her call for reform. She let the air out of the balloon by urging caution. By saying that allowing women to drive is not for now, she pushed her five lofty reforms into the distant future and delayed a simple reform from happening anytime soon.
Key PR lesson: Always start with a call to action that immediately mobilizes. Give people something to do. Arguing for constitutional and legal reform has its role but the Princess’s foray into free speech left her energized sympathizers limp. While her five suggestions can be the subject of endless academic debate, the question of women driving is a straight forward yes or no. More importantly, it is the gateway for broader change. Sadly a missed opportunity.
To read the interview click here
What’s your PR Verdict?