This Just In: British Colonists Switch PR Agencies!

The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to reflect on what might have been … I was wondering what it would have been like to have the rebellious British colonies as a client.

I can see the RFP (request for proposal) for the work: “British colonies in rebellion against Crown (United States) seek PR agency to represent their issues. Agency must have offices in NYC, London and Paris. We are experiencing significant brand confusion with countries in Central and South America that are unhappy that we are using “America” in our name. We need an agency that can share our messages with potential supporters of our insurrection, such as France, Poland and maybe even China.”

I’d have been asking for money upfront of course, since the Continental Congress didn’t have much of a budget back them … and their credit was a little dubious. Maybe get paid in gold rather than U.S. dollars. I suppose the account would be month-to-month depending on whether the client was still alive on the 1st of each month. Can’t see them signing a multi-year contract.

We’d definitely ask some questions about what happened to their past agencies (arrested by British troops and then tarred and feathered for treason?).

There could be some great social media opportunities, of course. Trending on Twitter with the hashtag #libertyordeath or maybe #Redcoatsareeasytoseeatnight. Definitely need a YouTube channel, although that video from Valley Forge would have to be edited pretty tight to bring in new recruits.

How about these tactics:

  • The battles at Lexington and Concord resulting in the famous line “the shot heard round the world.” Our agency made sure that shot was heard in every world capital by quickly distributing b-roll and producing an audio podcast and radio media tour using actual sound from the battles.
  • Building on the fact that people thought lobsters were disgusting sea trash, we dubbed the British soldiers “lobsterbacks.” We created a cause marketing campaign with one of the Darden Restaurant Group’s properties to raise money to support the revolution.
  • Battle of Long Island – Our agency issued a series of press releases that fooled the British into thinking General Washington’s troops were still on Long Island, when they’d actually snuck away to Manhattan.

There’s a perception that politics today was tougher or more bitter than 238 years ago.  I’m no historian, but I think we’d find that it was just different in term of tactics.  The back and forth between politicians was just as rancorous as those who study such things will testify. Do you think that media outlets with strong political leanings is new? Not so.  Newspapers, for example, have always be very vocal in their support of specific politicians and issues.  Usually on the op-ed pages now, but there was a time when the publisher more closely directed the news content (see “Hearst, William Randolph”).

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