So former New York City public advocate Bill “I’m Still Taller Than You” de Blasio beat his opponent Joe Lhota in this week’s election by nearly 50 points. It was the largest margin of victory in that race in over a century, so calling it an epic win would be a pretty big understatement.
Some credit de Blasio’s ability to pick a message and stick with it by repeating the phrase “tale of two cities” once every five minutes—not to mention his son’s awesome afro—for his runaway victory.
Others, however, think a great PR campaign might have had something to do with it.
Do go on…
We still have no idea what a “public advocate” does, so how did de Blasio rise from obscurity to dominate in an election overshadowed by Anthony Weiner?
According to Bloomberg, he can thank New York/D.C. firm BerlinRosen Public Affairs, which specializes in managing Democratic political campaigns and advocating for public policy. The article offers a nice history of the firm and explains a bit about how they tailored their strategy to fit de Blasio:
They call it a mission-driven company and said they turn away potential clients who don’t share their ideals and values.
Their candidate was viewed as a longshot…[until] he emerged as the leading critic of the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy.
The firm’s ability to place de Blasio at the center of news coverage of the issue was important because campaign spending limits made it impractical to buy television advertising until closer to election day.
So they identified the hot-button issue of the moment, decided it was a winner, and made sure to place their candidate right in the middle of it. Cool. But the hair did help—right, Jon Stewart?
BerlinRosen will now be one of the hottest political firms in the city thanks to the blowout win, but they’ll have to consider whether to represent clients that don’t necessarily share their ideology. It’s an interesting question for a firm that’s defined itself by being firmly planted on one side of the aisle.
(We just hope they didn’t choose Lorde’s “Royals” as de Blasio’s victory theme, because we were sick of that song before we even finished listening to it for the first time. Sorry.)
*Photo via Kathy Willens of the Associated Press