Friday Drop: Good summer for Kim Jong-Il

As the summer draws to a close, a look back at the good and bad of the past three months and two leaders in different positions.

Kim Jong-Il enjoyed a summer of sabre rattling that saw the Korean peninsula's most unpredictable pocket battleship rub shoulders with a Clinton and launch a few well reported pocket rockets of his own. The Dear Leader wants attention. He certainly got it.

This cognac loving, aircraft avoiding leader bounced back onto the scene earlier in the summer that saw a few missiles fizzle out over the Pacific. North Korea, enigma though it is, seems to have woken up to the fact that PR is increasingly muscling on to diplomacy's patch.  Russia has been the first to pick up on this, hiring the likes of Ketchum to spin during the Georgian conflict. That isn't to say Mr Kim will be talking to PRWeek about his agency search anytime soon, but his apparent keen sense for the media worked a treat when Bill Clinton rode to the rescue of two captured Al Gore employees. Kim certainly made the most of it, grand-standing the US delegation at a dinner reception. A new direction in relations with the US? We can all thank PR for potentially making he of the sunglasses a little less - as cult film Team America would suggest - wonewee.

Lessons

PR as a tool to influence is increasing in its importance, even being embraced as a diplomatic channel

A powerful image will travel around the world faster than a clever sound-bite

You can improve your image by association

 

A bad summer  - Gordon Brown

 

Where did it all go wrong for Kirkcaldy's finest? Gordon Brown's summer has parallels with the sewer. A genuine stinker. Negative headlines have been dropping into his lap faster than a Peter Stringfellow employee. From the expenses scandal to Libya, it's enough to give GB the hebegeebees. Pilloried by Jeremy Clarkson for being a ‘one eyed Scottish idiot' the PM hasn't been helped by plots to oust him and mass resignations. How did it come to this?

His main offence has been to dither. But only on things that matter; the current Libyan furore drawing the most criticism. ‘The Sell Out PM' sniped the Mail. Brown found time to console the family of Jade Goody, congratulate Freddie Flintoff, even check up on SuBo, but answering allegations of prisoner deals was not his territory. A poll in the Daily Mirror has him down as one of Britain's most unpopular PMs. As an old school politician it would seem this PR thing is just not for him. Even with ex Buck Palace spinner Simon Lewis in place, things seem to be heading down the U-bend. ‘If Simon Lewis is doing a good job at No.10, I'd love to see a bad job' twittered Mark Borkowski. As I do to GB's political career, I bid you adieu.

Lessons

Be consistent. Responding on some issues but not others looks poor

PR cannot achieve success on its own. But it can help

Stick to your area of expertise when passing comment

 

PRWeek and Waggener Edstrom are hosting an event on 9 September analysing the Friday Drop stories and looking at the lessons to be learned from them. Email for your free place (in-house communicators only)

 

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