Sensible PR lessons from 3 nonsense comedies

Laugh all you will. Overlook the parallels between our industry and these funny films, and your career might take the proverbial pie in the face.


People like to talk about lessons PR pros can learn from dramatic films or animated classics, but what about comedies? There’s plenty to learn from those, too.

Need proof? Check out the hidden PR wisdom in these three goofy laugh-fests:

“Dumb and Dumber”

You will hear the word “no” quite often in public relations. It’s part of the job. So it’s important to stay optimistic and try not to think that an idea or opportunity is ever a lost cause.

One of my favorite comedies is “Dumb and Dumber.” The film follows the cross-country journey of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, two good-natured imbeciles who try to return a briefcase full of money to its rightful owner.

One of the great things about this movie is Jim Carrey’s character, Lloyd, and his relentless pursuit of Mary Swanson, played by Lauren Holly. When she says there is a million-to-one chance they will ever be together, his response is, “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”

In this industry, it is important to never label anything as unachievable. Dream big, think big, accomplish big. Don’t limit your ideas to capture just the minimum or expected result. We want the best for our clients and have to think outside our comfort zone to get them there.

“Tommy Boy”

“Tommy Boy,” starring the late Chris Farley, is another of my all-time favorite comedies. Farley plays the screw-up son of a successful auto-parts factory owner. When his dad dies, he finds himself in charge of the company and goes on a sales trip around the country.

This movie depicts someone who marches to the beat of his own drummer and is truly genuine and original. Ultimately, Farley becomes successful solely because of his commitment to himself and his values. He doesn’t compromise himself or try to hide his larger-than-life personality.

Being an original in the PR field is important, because we are competing for attention from consumers, businesses, and publications. To set yourself and your clients apart, infuse some personality into your writing and strategy. This will make your work stand out and stand alone.

“Talladega Nights”

I’m from Alabama, so I can appreciate a little humor when it comes to NASCAR.

“Talladega Nights” is a hilarious comedy about NASCAR’s No. 1 driver, Ricky Bobby, and his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton Jr. But when a French Formula One driver stakes his claim to fame, there is a race to be at the top.

This movie offers a great lesson about the importance of media training. We are continually pitching clients for publications in hopes of receiving a placement, but we needn’t forget that we must also prep our clients. In one scene, Ricky earns some national attention but is a complete mess. He mumbles incoherent answers and declares, “I don’t know what to do with my hands.”

We need to remember that clients need guidance and direction when being prepped for any media outlet, especially national or alternative media channels than they aren’t used to. This will ensure their success and happiness with the coverage.

Lyndsey Lewis
is a company associate at Markstein.

(Image via, via & via)

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