Meet the Top 12 Public Relations Spirit Animals

Animals Cover_MOCKUP.inddSo I was gallivanting around Orange County the other week. Snazzy, right?

It’s not a humblebrag. I was checking out my new home with Bolt Public Relations (cheap, unsolicited plug…but really, call us) when a lovely young lady and PR pro who appreciates my great fraternity happened to mention the phrase ‘Spirit Animal’ during lunch.

While laughs abounded among some of us and bewilderment loomed overhead for others, we got to thinking about the inspiration behind this post. “Who would be the most ferocious PR Spirit Animals?” 

No, this list will not include Jennifer Lawrence—but gather ’round, flacks. Do these PR studs make you growl or purr, or do they just pee in the corner under the bed and leave it as a special surprise to start your day (no, I’m not happy with my dog right now)?

Flacks and flackettes, welcome to the PRNewser Spirit Animal zoo.

Debi Mazar1. Shauna Roberts, Fox. That’s not a sexist comment, but if you watched Entourage for any amount of time, you fell in love (or hate) with Debi Mazar’s character. I was thinking of her spirit animal and then it hit me when I read this article from NYMag entitled ‘Sly Fox.’  Granted, she was the stereotypical Hollywood publicist, but she was so good at being a stealthy borderline ne’er-do-well. Of course, my affinity for her began with the greatness that was Goodfellas, so I would put coke on that fox’s nose. No offense, PETA (or Hollywood flacks, for that matter).

samantha-jones2. Samantha Jones, Ostrich. Okay, this is the last of our fake flacks, but I couldn’t resist (or say no to certain ladies with whom I work). Some PR pros have the tendency to bury their heads in the sand when a crisis comes along. They look glamorous when they need to do that, but meh? Sam here wasn’t the most professional of flacks, and that was the one characteristics I considered.

harold burson3. Harold Burson, Owl. I am among the many former “Burson Persons” who was fortunate enough to meet the man. Sitting in the same room with him was about as mesmerizing as watching the wise, introspective owl turn its head all the way around—the man shows his skills without talking about them. Owls are widely known to be amazingly smart and pretty quiet, and Harold Burson is dynamic and legendary at being both—and rumors about his 360-degree neck do exist.

edward bernays4. Edward Bernays, Snake. Now before you write in with your hate mail about the ‘Father of Public Relations,’ let’s remember that he is also considered the ‘Father of Propaganda’ too. Remember, the snake was the first in the hallowed garden, and Bernays was first in the PR rainforest as well. Also: he was Sigmund Freud’s nephew. That’s not entirely related to PR but a sweet trivia note nonetheless.

carlbyoir5. Carl Byoir, Wolf. Following WWI, Byoir created one of the largest—and first—public relations agencies in the world. The guy started in the business at the age of 14, a founding father of this craft for sure. The museum of PR says, “Carl Byoir may not have moved mountains, but he definitely made a career of motivating people to do it for him.”

MossKendrix6. Moss Kendrix, Bear. This animal typifies impressive strength and casts a large shadow—and Kendrix easily fits that bill. Moss was the first black PR pro to earn major accounts and has been an inspiration to millions. That could not have been easy considering the time in which he lived, but he did so in prodigious fashion. A trailblazer if ever there was one in this industry (and a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated, as well…just sayin’).

Dan Edelman7. Daniel Edelman, Parrot. Come on—how many of you traipse through the zoo just to talk to the parrot? It’s both colorful and cerebral and it amazes you when it talks back. Daniel Edelman was that parrot. Everyone that ever met him couldn’t wait to talk to the guy. Sure, parrots are known for chatter, but there is always a wickedly smart method to their madness. I imagine Edelman was no different.

ivyledbetterlee8. Ivy Ledbetter Lee, Lion. While the aforementioned guys get “the father of” nod, Lwee is definitely the “father of crisis communications”, which he handled masterfully for a little-known family called the Rockefellers. As a matter of fact, in 1906, there was a tragic train crash in Atlantic City. Lee drafted something that became known as a ‘press release’ to notify people what happened on behalf of his client. BTW, when a lion roars, everyone notices. That’s mastery of crisis comms for you.

Ofield Dukes9. Ofield Dukes, Dolphin. One word to define the fish and this man: grace. I have been fortunate enough to eat lunch with this guy several times, and hearing him talk was like poetry every time. He made a career out of representing the causes of great people including making Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday (timely!). If any flack wants to learn what it means to represent importance, find this man’s work and learn.

stephen tallents10. Sir Stephen Tallents, Elephant. The elephant bears both great wisdom and strong shoulders, and Tallents is known for making Britain ‘Great’: the reputation of an entire nation rested on his shoulders when he was appointed the Ministry of Information after WWII. During his stint there, he founded this small organization known as the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Wise? Yup.

arthur page11. Arthur Page, Beaver. Since the first two don’t really count (no offense, ladies), this guy has to make the Spirit Animal Zoo list. Beavers are diligent workers, very organized and serious at what they do. Every flack has heard of—or needs to become acquainted with—The Page Principals. If any PR pro needs to know what it means to partner with a client, look no further than these steps.

NPG x86742; Sir Thomas Fife Clark by Elliott & Fry12. Sir Thomas Fife Clark, Eagle. It’s easy to equate a British PR legend to royalty, but consider the eagle, a distinctly American symbol of greatness. That’s Sir Clark. At 17, he began working with the Provincial Papers. He could be considered the prototype of today’s press secretary, as he played that role from 1939 – 1953, ending with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. And for 25 years afterwards, he was a “consultant” to everyone in the royal family—so the description is befitting after all.

Flacks, there may be more spirit animals admitted to the PR zoo. Holler and let us know what animals, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates you would welcome to the zoo.