The (very) grey area where media and politics collide is always something that gets my attention. I love watching any new TV show that delves into this topic so I was excited when Party Tricks launched last week. Channel 10’s new show depicts Victorian Premier Kate Ballard (Asher Keddie) going up against ex-journalist David McLeod (Rodger Corser) in an upcoming election. The first episode included a few classic PR lessons.
1. Honesty is better than a cover up Once Kate realised who the new opposition leader would be, she realised it was highly likely that their previous affair would become public knowledge. In a meeting with her speechwriter Oliver Parkham she revealed her secret and they discussed options about how to deal with it. When it comes to the media chasing a story it doesn’t matter whether you’ve stuffed up or you’re trying to hide something, honesty is always the best policy. And it’s always better to come clean first and have some element of control around the story, rather than waiting for it to break and looking like you tried to cover it up.
2. Everyone loves a good story The (faux) Liberal party launch of David as their new state leader showed the team behind it was very media savvy. Widower David stood with his 16-year-old daughter Matilda and looked at her with tears in his eyes as he spoke about the importance of family, following your aspirations and how supportive his wife had been of his goals while she was alive. This scene showed we can never go past people’s stories, especially if told from the heart with passion.
3. Go with the flow This isn’t specifically a PR tactic, because it works for all of us, but there are always going to be days that just don’t go to plan and you have to be OK with that. Kate did not wake up that morning thinking the man she once had a romantic liaison with was going to be her new opponent. Things do go wrong and unexpected issues do crop up, so we have to be flexible enough to think quickly and work out a strategy on the fly.
On a side note, I thought it was very clever of Ten to weave recent political issues into the storyline, such as debates around transport infrastructure and whether Kate being childless meant she was out of touch with what Victorian families needed.
Which fictitious characters have taught you lessons in business?