PR experts: Occupy movement a self-defeating disaster
posted at 9:24 am on November 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
The Occupy Movement succeeded early in seizing a media narrative, a feat that public-relations experts know is hardly easy to achieve. These professionals should be impressed by the ability of the movement to get its message across, right? Well, that’s the real problem, according to PR Daily. They don’t have one — and the media coverage is exposing the ugliness in the vacuum of a message (via Instapundit):
Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications, praised OWS’s canny cultivation of the media and public sympathy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s evacuation of Zuccotti Park seems to have strengthened the movement, she suggests. But she sees risks in the protesters’ tactics of shutting down streets and subway stations.
She adds: “If they start to disrupt the commute or work schedule of so-called ‘regular people’—part of that huge 99 percent who are just trying to get through the workday and earn a living—I think they risk losing the very group that should be most sympathetic.”
The movement’s PR efforts drew derision from Fraser P. Seitel, managing partner of Emerald Partners and author of The Practice of Public Relations. OWS, he says, has “botched an opportunity to capture public opinion and achieve something. Americans, by every measure, distrust the politicians who run Washington and lead major institutions. So public opinion was ripe for the plucking.”
However, the movement blew it by having no overriding purpose, stated goals, or visible leadership, he says, and it is increasingly perceived as a bunch of publicity-hungry complainers intent on disrupting others who are making a living.
“Occupy Wall Street is right about one thing,” he says. “The whole world is watching. And it’s generally repulsed by what it’s seen.”
That sounds like a fair description, doesn’t it? In Oakland, they threatened workers at the docks and succeeded in shutting down commerce not for the 1% but for 100% of the people who depend on the port. They also went on a vandalism spree that didn’t even spare their corporate lackeys. In New York, the Occupiers tried to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange, where where 70% of Americans have investments through direct purchases or retirement accounts.
And did they seriously think that disrupting the subways would bother the 1%? I’ve been on the subways in the Big Apple, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the Upper Crust riding along with me. Whose bright idea was that? Probably the same person who announced that shutting down Wall Street was their big goal, an aspiration from which they had to walk back significantly by the end of the day:
Organized weeks ago, the so-called day of action came two days after the police cleared the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park in Manhattan in an early morning raid. After the protesters were ousted from the park that had become their de facto headquarters, a judge agreed that they could return later that day, albeit without their camping gear. They looked to Thursday to gauge the support and mettle that the movement had retained.
“We failed to close the stock exchange, but we took back our park,” said Adam Farooqui, 25, of Queens. “That was a real victory.”
Er, right. They had already been allowed back in the park; they cannot camp there overnight, however, and the police will eject anyone who pitches a tent in Zuccotti Park. Some OWS protesters yesterday complained that they were not being allowed out of the park, where police bottled them up in order to keep the streets clear. Their “real victory” was apparently the status quo ante, which qualifies as spin — and spin that’s not impressing the experts at all.
Steven Crowder is here to help, however. He put together a montage of Occupy’s Greatest Hits, and I bet the PR firms can really do something with this. Don’t call them, babe, they’ll call you. Maybe they’ll do a lunch with you, but only if they’ve had their shots first.