July 30, 2008

Images as PR Messaging

Posted in Media, Political Punditry at 2:24 pm by R

With election season come the ubiquitous photos of candidates on magazine covers, in articles and on TV. What those images say impacts our collective impression of a candidate. These images also betray the bias of a publication or the probable endorsement. (This is another fascinating topic altogether.)

After posting about Obama V. McCain in the Media I got to thinking about the other ways media has an impact on our impression of candidates. Visually. I went through my stack of soon-to-be-recycled Newsweeks and TIMEs and flipped through some photos and started to see a trend. It seems that the photographs of Obama are slightly more flattering than the ones of McCain.

A Google Images search produced similar results (from the first page of results):

Obama is routinely portrayed as thoughtful, pensive, presidential and even JFK-esque.

John McCain…well…enough said.

And that’s the power of images!

(Yes there were LOTs of other photos of each candidate on the first page of my search, but notably none of Obama that we’re “candid reaction” shots, nor were there any of McCain that were truly “presidential” looking. Have a look for yourself. Barack Obama search results John McCain search results.)

When representing clients with public figure status (politicians or no), it’s important to control their image. Literally. Figuratively. Make sure that the media have the most flattering picture at their finger tips so as to avoid being portrayed imitating a pirate.



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