Written by Noemi Pollack on December 29, 2011.
It seems that the “formerly” meek actually “did inherit the earth” in 2011 – in part, of course.
It’s now old, but still current news that the “formerly” meek rose up and grabbed the political reins with varying successes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and then spread to Yemen and certainly Syria, (which is in the thick of it right now), not to speak of the growling that has arisen in Russia.
But another kind of “formerly meek” moved right in here, at home, in the form of OWS and claimed to be the 99% group of America. It eventually made such a national din, that the movement escalated and spread virally. I guess it’s a numbers game by now. 99% is really overwhelming.
Getting consensus from a large cross section of the 99% does have some surprising problems. While the ever-escalating mainstream and online media interest and coverage was enthusiastically welcomed by the movement, the emerging Occupy Wall Street PR is not, according to the very person who played a role in igniting the initial protests, Adbusters Editor-in-Chief Kalle Lasn, who says that “the OWS doesn’t want PR — the term or concept is tarnishing its brand.”
Really? What brand? What message? There are so many of them, 99% being only one core economic message that has resonated as a “headline“ but is in need of more substantiation. It would seem a natural evolution for the next step of OWS to have a clear-cut purpose of “what happens next” or “where does it go from here” or “what does the end game look like?”
Two sites have emerged, initiated and produced by PR and advertising specialists; 1. a well-meaning attempt by Workhouse PR to editorialize the movement and compile OWS-related coverage and content (art, music, film, graphic design) on a specially created site, OWSPR.com, and 2. Occupy.com designed by David Sauvage, a freelance commercial director who worked on the crowdsourced TV ad for OWS, which is coming soon.
Lasn’s point of view that these sites have “lost a little of the purity of the movement and that this is “not what this movement is about” and “that the word PR demeans what human beings really do” — sounds altruistic, ivory tower-like academic and is totally detrimental to the movement’s root beginnings. A movement for the sake of itself is going to stay just – a movement.
The PR discipline is the best medium to amplify and defend the 99% message refrain and move it toward fulfilling its purpose. Keeping people engaged is a good thing and the sites are clearly meant as extensions of the protest. But the 99% have to want change to happen. Otherwise why bother?
Let 2012 be the year, when the profound changes initiated in 2011, solidify.
Happy New Year and Peace To All!