What do Olivia Pope and PR Professionals Have in Common?

Scandal Blog Post Image 11-20-14

By: Michelle Favalora
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

I have a love-hate relationship with the hit show “Scandal,” mainly because I love to hate the show. I just don’t always see eye-to-eye with the main character, Olivia Pope.

While there are quite a few different — albeit dramatic — plot lines in the show, I want to speak here specifically about Olivia Pope’s profession as a “fixer.” Olivia Pope and her crew (they like to call themselves “gladiators in suits”) go around “fixing” other people’s lives as they try to cover up murders, affairs or combinations of the two in Washington, D.C. I quickly realized “fixer” is really just another word for PR pro. Here’s why:

Olivia Pope, like her fellow PR pro, is perceived by her peers as a spin master. She walks into a crime scene and the onlookers shake their heads, thinking she’s going to tamper with the evidence in her favor and reveal a very warped version of the truth.

However, regardless of the goings-on in her personal life, Olivia Pope has maintained a strict expectation of honesty and truthfulness from her clients. She makes them stick to what’s true and just, and operates accordingly.

Olivia Pope uses the phrase, “standing in the sun,” with her beau Jake Ballard to reflect her desire to live honestly and get out of the shadows and darkness associated with their previous choices (i.e., being the president’s mistress or murdering innocent folks). And she uses that same line of thinking when working with clients.

It works similarly in PR (minus the murders and affairs). Our job is to search through the truth and find what’s fascinating, entertaining, useful and important to share. We don’t make things up, and we don’t warp the truth. Rather, we help our clients figure out how to share the truth.

While I can’t speak for Olivia Pope’s personal life, as a “fixer” and PR professional, we all share the desire for our clients to “stand in the sun” and will do our best to help them get there.

Olivia Pope_Drinking(Photo Source)

So, here’s to you, Olivia Pope. I may yell at the TV every time you kiss the president, but I do admire the work you do for your clients. So, drink up!

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