PR Image Makeover in Film

Who isn’t a fan of Will Smith? … and specifically the motion picture “Hancock?” As a public relations student, I feel the necessity to stress the importance of public relations, and how it  uses the media as an instrument to portray it’s actual impact.

In the movie, Will Smith plays John Hancock, a superhero in desperate need of an image makeover. He is transformed from a homeless, helpless, alcoholic superhero into a heroic community icon. This “makeover” is contributed to the works of  Ray Embrey (played by Jason Beteman), a lovable husband, and dedicated pr specialist. Ray’s life was saved by the drunken superhero one day after work during rush-hour, when a train almost demolished Ray and his beat-up volvo. After Ray’s life is saved, he noticed the superhero was receiving words of hatred from others, rather then congratulating and thanking him. I thought a major theme in this movie was that with great power comes great responsibility.

Ray dedicates his career to corrective pr for Hancock, because he felt the injustice between members of the community and Hancock. Another theme to the film concerns how we all realize our place in the world; like Ray saw his talent and skills needed for Hancock. The film weaves big, aesthetic ideas into action-packed, fast-paced flick. Ray suggests Hancock go to jail for all of his civil suits, also known as a corrective pr initiative. In jail, Hancock cleans his tarnished image and agrees to wear a superhero outfit, to symbolize his proactive efforts, and promote his superhero-hood. Hancock also learns to be more polite and well-mannered, discarding his fowl language.

So far, Ray’s pr plan has worked so far. Hancock remains in jail as crime will rise, the community will realize Hancock’s importance, and grew needy for the safety and security he was initially providing them. Just as predicted, Hancock was called to be released by L.A. Police Chief due to a hostage holdup at a local bank. With Hancocks new look and attitude, (known as corrective reputation management) he saves the hostages from the bad bank robbers and signifies a PR firms makeover dream. Hancock is back in damned and people are embracing him.

What would you suggest the main message of the film is, in relation to the portrayal of public relations as a career. Personally, the films message is far reaching: large or small, rich or poor, strong or weak, public relations is needed to either, open our eyes to the possibilities and believe, in both ourselves and in one another.–a-great-public-relations-makeover.aspx

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4 Responses to PR Image Makeover in Film

  1. Dawn Gilpin says:

    Claudia, interesting post topic. Just a couple of notes: first, use a live link with meaningful text, not just the long pasted URL. Also, check the first sentence in the penultimate paragraph.

    PS: Also make sure to file it under your team name instead of “Uncategorized”

  2. ecain says:

    I really liked this blog post, Hancock really is a great example of reputation management. After Hancock allows Jason Bateman’s character to begin to revamp his reputation, his reputation in the media really does change. People who once hated him, began calling on him for help. I think that a prevalent message in this movie was how important it is to have a positive image in the media. If you have the media on your side as your opinion leaders, the public will follow. Once the media picked up on Hancock acting like a hero rather than a zero, society decided that they needed him more than they thought they did.

  3. sferrer says:

    Claudia, I never knew that PR was integrated into “Hancock.” Now, I’ll have to watch the movie to see what PR concepts were used in the film. Crisis/ corrective reputation management is an area I stay away from in PR. Although, I should engage in learning crisis management practices because I may have to deal with a situation similar to the movie for a client/organization. PR is not always all about getting the positive qualities of your client’s product or service out to the public. There are times when a company or an individual who is under the public eye needs PR expertise to suppress bad press and re-build reputation. I believe the film shows how important PR is and why we need need PR professionals. I think PR professionals do not get enough credit for their work and not seen as heros. Usually, the media and the clients we represent get the glory.

  4. Miranda Kuhl says:

    I thought this was a great post and extremely relevant to our class. I have never seen Hancock, but after hearing about the movie, it makes me really want to see it. I agree that PR played an important role in the movie, and also coincides with the overall theme of the movie. So many people don’t realize how important image and reputation are for any celebrity or public official, and this movie clearly demonstrates just how relevant these things are to your career. I’m glad that PR received some good, well, PR in the media. It is refreshing to see that some positive light has been shed on our field. My only suggestion is to watch for typos and to include more links.

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