Barack Obama's PR Blitzkrieg
At the Publishing Business Conference & Expo in late March, I chatted briefly with Marji Ross, president and publisher of the archconservative Regnery Publishing, who just may be the smartest PR person on the planet.
On her watch, Regnery has had 53 titles on the New York Times Best-Seller list in the past 10 years—a heart-pounding 35% of all Regnery titles published.
How does she do it? Prior to publication of a new book, her PR machine goes dark for a month. When books are in stores and on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, the author—Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, David Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or whomever—is everywhere with guest shots on cable TV, call-in conservative radio, newspaper interviews and blasts out to 1 million e-mail addresses.
Check out my column from March 18, 2008: “Blitzkrieg PR: How to Launch a Book, a Product, a Service—or Anything Else.”
“Never lay odds of more than 3-to-1,” said my wonderful colleague, the late Mike Kelly. I will break that rule and lay those odds that President Barack Obama will best Marji Ross’s mastery of public relations and publicity.
President Barack Obama Jones
(Indiana Jones, That Is)
All I can think of during these first months of the Obama presidency is “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The scene when Harrison Ford opens the "Well of Souls" and squints into the darkness, and John Rhys-Davies, who plays his trusted friend Sallah, says:
Sallah: Indy, why does the floor move?
Indiana: Give me your torch.
[Sallah does, and Indy drops it in]
Indiana: Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?
Sallah: Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.
Barack Obama is walking in snakes—just like Harrison Ford.
The media—all of them—scolded the new president for his ongoing doom-and-gloom message about these dire economic times. So to lighten up, Obama invited ESPN television cameras into the White House sanctum sanctorum to view the presidential picks for the NCAA tournament.