PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Puffy makes election all about the Diddy

This year's presidential election was a long hard slog, and as usual, the losers well outnumber the winners.

This year's presidential election was a long hard slog, and as usual, the losers well outnumber the winners.

But in the end, only one person can truly prevail. Despite all the threats of lawsuits and recounts, all the name-calling and character assassination, all the swift boats and ketchup, it was once again an obscenely wealthy man with corporate ties up the hoo-ha and a willingness to say anything who came out on top. P. Diddy. Face it - unless you lived in a swing state, you never even saw a campaign ad outside of the evening news. And unless you are an unemployed news junkie, you never achieved more than a passing familiarity with the candidates' actual positions (which is by no means to suggest such positions actually existed). But if you're a media-consuming American, you know the phrase "Vote or Die," and you know who's threatening to kill you. Of course, you also probably find the whole thing a little preachy and condescending, not to mention self-consciously edgy and pretty much without meaning. But what does that matter? Once again, Mr. Diddy inserted himself into a cultural phenomenon he had no claim to (the genius of Notorious BIG, the NYC marathon, Jennifer Lopez) and practically upstaged it. "Safer at home, respected around the world" never really took off, but "Vote or Die" was given its own South Park episode. What more measurement do we need? And if anyone doubted Diddy's spin cred, there he was on CNN after midnight on Election Day, claiming success despite exit polls showing no increase in the percentage of turnout among 18-24-year-olds, his target demographic. Way to go, P. And good luck with that killing spree.
  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's Washington, DC, bureau chief. Ratings: 1. Clueless 2. Ill-advised 3. On the right track 4. Savvy 5. Ingenious

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