Favourite PR Pros on Screen #W1A

PR News ran a fun feature on social media this week, asking for input to compile yet another Top 10 List - this time, our Favourite PR Pros in film and TV.

Strangely, the same names kept recurring, and it became apparent that PR and Comms haven’t played starring roles on screen very often in the last decade:

10. Kara Monahan, from the movie “Valentine’s Day”

9. Liz and Liz, from the TV series “Kroll Show”

8. Bobbi Flekman, from the movie “This Is Spinal Tap”

7. Edina Monsoon, from the TV series “Absolutely Fabulous”

6. Olivia Pope, from the TV series “Scandal”

5. C.J. Cregg, from the TV series “The West Wing”

4. Nick Naylor, from the movie “Thank You for Smoking”

3. Samantha Jones, from the TV series “Sex and the City”

2. Eli Gold, from the TV series “The Good Wife”

1. Sidney Falco, from the movie “Sweet Smell of Success”

I say strangely, because there is much mirth to be found in the personality extremes of the industry. A fact not missed by the BBC in it’s latest 4-part situation comedy “W1A”.

Personally I love this show, as I did its predecessor, the Olympics Spoof “Twenty Twelve”. I worried that W1A wouldn’t be as funny because its primary aim is to lampoon the BBC and its managerial structure, but when they brought back the character of Siobhan Sharpe, owner of PR Agency Perfect Curve, as “Brand Guru” they made my Tuesday evenings.

It is this very character that has made the programmes loathed by many in the industry. She is an exaggerated caricature of course, a “dahling”, who fills the empty space in conversations (which clearly mirror the empty space between her ears) with management jargon and enthusiastic phrases of nothingness. She is a strange creature alright, but she’s funny because she exists. I’ve actually met her numerous times.

My other favourite is new character Tracey Pritchard, Senior BBC Communications Officer. She sees herself as many of us do in-house, less airy-fairy and more matter-of-fact than our agency/consultant counterparts. Like us, she also tries to keep people on track with what is important - like avoiding media crises or reputation damage-limitation - but often finds herself in a losing battle with strategists and managers losing the run of themselves in planning meetings where everyone leaves and wonders if anything was actually decided.

This is why in my opinion the show is brilliant. Aside from all the debate about whether the BBC is mocking itself, looking for sympathy or had an inspired moment of self-awareness, the corporate speak, the personalities and the PC-gone-mad, could easily apply to any large organisation. When you’ve lived through similar frustrations yourself the easiest way to relieve it is to laugh at it.

And of course the test of good character is the ability to laugh at oneself. If only it didn’t have to end so soon…