5 PR Lessons from The Oscars

And the PR of Oscars goes to...

watch-oscars-onlineFrom tense moments to Don Johnson’s and Melanie Griffith’s little girl causing people to rush for the dump button because pubescent angst is a thing to inspirational moments like Graham Moore encouraging young people to “stay weird,” the Oscars did not disappoint.

NPH held his own during the usual speeches, the obligatory commentary, and the inspirational memoriam. But what did PR folks see, and what did we learn?

In case you missed the swag bag of takeaway moments from the hallowed stage, here is this week’s #5Things: 5 PR Lessons from the Oscars.

1. Everyone Loves a Comeback

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If you don’t believe me, consider two words: Michael Keaton. The last time this guy was relevant, Batman was a novel concept, Beetlejuice was a fan favorite, and my tail was … well, much less wrinkled and saggy. At one point, Keaton was “the man.” Then he was nothing more than a memory…until Birdman gave him the chance to play a classic “troubled soul” lead.

This entire award season, everyone “acted” as if they’d been praying for Mr. Mom to get his due. He didn’t win the big trophy, but many cheered for him — and some of us in PR can sympathize. Remember that last really good hit you got a few years back? Of course you do: it’s resume fodder. We all have at least one of those, but remember: if you work hard enough, pitch smart enough, and refuse to slack enough, that next great hit is on the way. No, it’s not a comeback and you’ve been here for years, but if you’re like us then it’s been a while.

Just like Mike (Keaton), you’ll have people to cheer you on when you get yours, too.

2. The “Beautiful People” and Our Love/Hate Relationship

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If you are in PR for any amount of time, you can work your fingers to the bone for a headline that creates some buzz…or you can convince your client to spend a few thousand bucks, get a paid endorsement from someone famous, and become a “trending topic” in hours. Such is life when working with the Beautiful People in Hollywood.

Many of us ask how hard it is, really, to do PR for someone who is Hollywood famous (not reality TV famous). Their publicists sometimes seem to have the easiest jobs on the planet, because it doesn’t take much skill to call a reporter and say, “Would you like to speak to [insert your Hollywood type here]?”

The rest of us have to earn it. Secretly, we are jealous. Publicly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now if only scoring headlines were that easy.

3. Talent (Eventually) Always Gets the Stage

NPH hosting
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After Steve Martin, Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars, it seemed like Hollywood went on a long sabbatical from caring about who played that role.

Ellen did very well last year, but should we mention Seth McFarlane or the Hathaway/Franco dual indigestion platter? From Alec Baldwin (2010) to Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan (1987), Hollywood’s most glamorous night has had its share of turds up on that stage. Last night, Neil Patrick Harris showed that the cream always rises to the top…even if the process takes some time.

Your talent in PR is similar, in a way: even if you’ve been surrounded by an army of brown-nosers for most of your career, your hard work WILL be recognized at some point (if it hasn’t been already). All great PR pros get their time to shine, sing, dance, joke, and whatever else goes down in the break room after a karmic victory.

4. A Little Buzz Goes a Long Way