Back in the 1960s J B Priestley wrote a novel about two unscrupulous PR men who, having been provided with generous funding by a rich widow, set about the business of image-making. Indeed, they go so far as to found a whole university department of social imagistics. They are tremendously successful and the book ends with their producing virtually identical image-crafted party leaders for the Conservative and Labour Parties complete with interchangeable, public-relations-friendly policies. He called his book The Image Men and it was heavily criticised at the time for the sheer implausibility of its plot.
I mean, it couldn't really happen, could it ...?