PR Play of the Week: Vincente outfoxes the PRI in Mexico

As the Mexican presidential campaign drew to a close last week, opinion polls showed Frances Labastida of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a dead heat with Vincente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN).

As the Mexican presidential campaign drew to a close last week, opinion polls showed Frances Labastida of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a dead heat with Vincente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN).

As the Mexican presidential campaign drew to a close last week,

opinion polls showed Frances Labastida of the ruling Institutional

Revolutionary Party (PRI) in a dead heat with Vincente Fox of the

National Action Party (PAN).



So much for the polls. Fox, a flamboyant cowboy and former Coca-Cola

executive, won the battle handily on July 2, the first presidential

candidate in 71 years to defeat the PRI.



The sweet smell of success was in the air for Fox on the Thursday before

the election, when a perfume manufacturer dumped gallons of scented

liquid all over Mexico City’s Periferico highway. The owner said he

wanted Mexicans ’to smell change in the air.’



The stunt didn’t proceed without incident: the perfume-slickened roads

caused cars to spin out of control and forced the highway shut for

several hours. Fox denied any knowledge of the plan, but a traffic jam

wasn’t going to derail voter belief that Fox represented real

change.



The more serious last-minute challenge came from a smear campaign. As

the race drew to a close, Fox was hit with accusations that he accepted

as much as dollars 95 million in illegal donations from abroad,

channeling them through the Irish-owned Smurfit paper company. However,

Fox called for an examination of company records, enlisting the help of

Smurfit executives to show the accusations to be unfounded. Fortunately,

given the PRI’s corrupt, win-at-any-cost reputation, it’s more likely

that the charges cast doubt on Labastida’s credibility than on Fox’s

reputation.



- Nominations for PR Play of the Week should be sent to

news@PRWeekus.com.



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