PR for the Recently Departed?


Here’s an amusing piece that our friends at PR Doctor Chicago shared this morning involving public relations for the recently deceased.

In short: “best-selling Southern author and syndicated columnist Ronda Rich“, who also spent a good part of her career in PR/marketing, theorizes that the family of a certain wealthy but disagreeable someone “hired a P.R. firm to write his obituary like a star-gone-bad hires a firm to remake her image.”

Not so sure about that…

While the unpleasant man was known to Rich and friends as “mean, egoistical and quite a bully”, his obit “listed his civic duties, his church contributions, and a children’s home that had once been touched by his generosity.”

We were amused by Rich’s theory, but we will have to disagree: what sort of firm would accept such a small-scale assignment? And unless the firm–or, more likely, freelancer–agreed to handle ongoing maintenance of this individual’s reputation, the related retainer wouldn’t look too impressive.

The answer to Rich’s question “Is it possible to hire a public relations firm to manage your image after you’ve departed?” is obviously yes if the subject’s name and legacy are important (read: profitable) enough. But in this case, we feel that at least one member of the late man’s family simply writes well.

Or maybe someone just doesn’t know how to say no to a client with money to spend.