Let’s look back 16 years, to the public image of a
famous family, then the scourge of a nation, solely responsible for the erosion of family values and all that is good with America. The media claimed they were a veritable plague being foisted on unsuspecting parents via the Trojan horse of their little TV-worshiping spawn who were suddenly filled to the brim with ideas of postnatal parent-bashing that would make Ozzie and Harriet approach 9,000 RPMs as they whir around in their graves. This family’s licensed clothing was banned in many public school systems, they were panned in Sunday sermons and known as just about the worst threat to youngsters since Elvis.
That same family today holds icon status, is imminently
quotable in the best of circles, has one of their most recognizable assets painted on airliners and is viewed as a model for honoring the sanctity of marriage, good Christian values and copious consumption of Duff’s Beer. They touch our hearts and our funny bones.1
Who are they? Two words, my friends. The Simpsons. Formerly vilified, currently deified. How can you match that?
Maybe you can’t, but you can certainly attempt to avoid the reverse trajectory that has characterized the Royal Family of England’s image in the press. Covering roughly the same time period as the Simpson salvation, the plummeting public perception of Prince Charles and his inner circle of consorts played to an increasingly disgusted demographic. D’oh!
Darlings of the Decade
Nothing was hotter than the storybook wedding of Prince
Charles and Princess Di in 1981. Interest in, and admiration for the Royals seemed to approach blow-torch temperatures. Who would have predicted the impending melt-down of their reputation that would transpire over the next 20 or so years? Scandals, cheating, divorces and conspiracy theory – not to mention death. They provided it all.
They Look So
As the Queen’s family became more cartoon-like every year,
the Simpsons actually evolved into something imitated by real people and the show intro featured live actors this year.
(See the Simpsons in real life:
Diamonds Aren’t Forever
Permanent PR? Never. Neither good NOR bad, nothing is forever. Those of you in charge of image management for your bosses or companies know that hard work and the use of ongoing meaningful measurements are the only ways to consistently manage a positive image in the press. Have you scoped out an image for your own PR efforts? Be sure to use a measurement company that reads for those portrayals and tells you the truth when your image begins glowing or fading.
And Will That Play In Arabic?
Al-Shamshoon. The Simpsons translated into Arabic for Middle Eastern viewing, albeit without Moe’s Tavern, Duff Beer, pork or bacon products, Krusty the Clown, Apu or Reverend Lovejoy. Starring Omar, Mona and Abar as Homer, Marge and Bart. No Moe’s? No Krusty? Doesn’t that actually MAKE them Ozzie and Harriet all over again? And if Homer and Marge are so heavily censored in that
language, how do they handle Prince Charles and Camilla?