As a public relations major, the huge success of telenovelas is particularly interesting to me. Through the class lectures and consumption presentations, we have become familiar with the intense obsession that exists for these nightly, dramatic episodes. I did some research to try to find out who are the PR wizards behind telenovelas … but to no avail. (When you Google “public relations and telenovelas,” most of the search returns are about Dr. A.) I did find an interesting article by a brand strategist discussing her brief encounter with telenovelas. She is American and speaks no Spanish, but when flipping through the channels one night, she ended up stopping on a telenovela — for a full hour. It was not the content that drew her into the show (she could not understand the dialogue). It was the way in which the content was presented: the music, the gestures, the facial expressions, the tone of the actors’ voices. From this experience, she drew three content marketing lessons: use emotion, use your hands and volume works wonders. I thought the article was pretty good, and I decided to think about my own PR lessons that I’ve learned while watching and studying telenovelas:
- Create an escape.
- This is something Chascas mentioned when he spoke with our class. He said that telenovelas use aesthetically pleasing scenery and avoid visual detractors like graffiti because viewers are looking for a break from the unpleasant aspects of their everyday lives. Often, telenovelas are even shot in beautiful, exotic locations. And of course the (almost always) guaranteed happy endings of telenovelas provide an emotional escape to fans. In the same way, PR professionals can present their clients as providing an escape to their publics. You can give consumers hope (and garner positive sentiment) by offering them a more beautiful reality.
- Obviously, telenovelas maintain a very strong (aka daily) presence in the lives of their viewers. Fans plan to be in the same place at the same time every night to watch their favorite novelas — it’s a powerful relationship. PR professionals can do the same thing for their clients: make the brand a part of people’s daily lives and position the client as a dependable friend. In one of my PR internships, a boss told me, “There’s no such thing as too much branding.” So make your brand present. If people see your brand every day, they’ll expect to see your brand every day. They will associate it with comfort, routine and reliability. They will trust it.
- Telenovelas are big, bold and dramatic. They are not afraid of being over-the-top. Exaggeration works. I think awareness of one’s audience is crucial, however, to the success of this boldness. Overstatement might not be the appropriate approach for every demographic, but telenovelas are just striking enough for their particular audience. There are a lot of brands in the world and a lot of competition for consumers’ attention. If you don’t stand out, you’ll get lost in the clutter. PR pros need to know their audiences, create appropriate strategies and be bold in the implementation. Make an impression, and be memorable.
Any other PR peeps out there? What best practices have struck you?