Danny Rogers on PR: Obama has the edge on social media
A business trip to New York last week was a stark reminder of the comparatively anaemic nature of strategic communications in Britain at the moment.
Not only are American PR agencies more bullish than their British counterparts, but US politicians enjoy a more vibrant engagement with their electorate. Talking to the bosses of the biggest US (indeed global) PR agencies – such as Edelman, Weber Shandwick and Ketchum – it quickly becomes apparent that corporate comms budgets have recovered better across the Atlantic. The PR consultants have also embraced digital and social comms earlier, effectively stealing budgets away from the ad agencies on Madison Avenue.
One suspects this is driven by a media sector less reliant on print – one sees more iPads than newspapers on the New York subway – and the buzz of the presidential election is providing a welcome shot in the arm. Many New York PR agencies are run by staunch Democrats, including some former party activists. All are fascinated by the intense comms battle being fought between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.Obama is still basking in the warmth of the Democratic National Convention, during which he, his wife and Bill Clinton made successful live speeches on primetime TV. But Obama also has the edge in social media. His team tweets 25 to 30 times each day, compared with Romney's one or two. Obama continues to be advised by David Axelrod, the former journalist who previously ran successful Democrat election campaigns.
But Romney holds some advantages. His top media advisers, including Ron Kaufman, a former aide to Ronald Reagan, believe that their candidate looks and sounds more like a US President. They are sensibly exploiting every technique to focus the debate on the economy and debt.
Nevertheless, Ketchum's European boss, David Gallagher – an American and a Democrat – believes Obama's more offensive campaign will ultimately triumph. "Obama's team is in complete control of the news cycle and ahead on the issues," he says, although he warns there may still be an "October surprise" – an 11th hour media revelation that will tilt the election one way or the other.
Danny Rogers is editor of PR Week
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...