Global Power Book: Malcolm Tucker and CJ Cregg named as top fictional PRs

Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It has narrowly trumped The West Wing's CJ Cregg as the favourite fictional PR character among entrants to PRWeek's Global Power Book.

Senior figures from the global PR industry were asked to identify their favourite made-up PR as part of the questionnaires in the Global Power Book, which was launched on Monday.

Tucker and Cregg were supposedly based on real-life political spin doctors; respectively, Tony Blair’s comms chief Alastair Campbell and Bill Clinton’s former press secretary Dee Dee Myers. But personality-wise they are chalk and cheese, with the angry, sweary Tucker in contrast to the more compassionately played Cregg.

There is a bias towards serious characters in the choices, with the Olivia Pope of Scandal and Nick Naylor, the smooth-talking tobacco lobbyist from Thank You for Smoking, both in the top five.

More comedic names such as Absolutely Fabulous’ Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, Siobhan Sharpe of BBC’s W1A and 2012, and even Samantha Jones of Sex and the City, received less support. This could reflect the serious nature of our contingent, or simply (and more likely) the strength of American dramas at present.

Some suggestions stretch the term PR somewhat, with ad man Don Draper of Mad Men and sports agent Jerry Maguire getting some backing (four and seven votes respectively). Interestingly, Havas PR US CEO Marian Salzman picked Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw as the "creator of branded content".

Jeff Kuhlman, Nissan vice-president, global comms, summarised the views of many, saying he is "not a big fan" of how PR professionals are represented: "It's hard enough to tell my mother what I do, let alone expect Hollywood to do it well."

Finally, baffling choices included James Bond, Breaking Bad lawyer Saul Goodman, Tin Tin, Yoda (two votes) and Wonder Woman.

Q: Who is your favourite fictional PR character?

1. Malcolm Tucker (27)
2. CJ Cregg (25)
3. Nick Naylor (18)
4. Olivia Pope (14)
5. Conrad Brean (8)

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