Hancock: PR Lessons on how to rebrand “One of a Kind” Being

Movie title: Hancock

Genre: Action Comedy, Fantasy

Director: Peter Berg

Production Company: Columbia Pictures

Release Date: 2008

Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola

The joy of any Public Relations Consultant is to ensure that he rebrands a particular product and revamps the image of the person, product or company. This was what a PR Consultant, Ray Embrey, a role played by Jason Bateman, set out to do when his life was saved by John Hancock, played by Will Smith, a Los Angeles vigilante who causes collateral damages whenever he displayed his bravery in rescuing people.

Hancock saved the life of Ray from a train crash and he thought it wise to pay back this gesture by revamping the image of Hancock. He started by introducing himself, “I do Public Relations for a living, We are Image Consultants, we change the way people see products, companies, people etc. They should love you and I really want to deliver that, it is the least I can do, you are a Superhero!”

Unfortunately, Mary, Ray’s wife, was not favourably disposed to what her husband was aiming at. In order to convince her, he said, “I can’t change the world but I can change his life!.” This is what every PR Consultant loves to do, change the life of a brand, product or organization and do it in such a way that the product would testify of his professional touch.

Thereafter, the journey to revamping the image of Hancock began, Ray did an extensive background, a tour into his past, checked the available videos of Hancock on Youtube and he discovered that he had stuffs, “but they are not great stuffs on you”. From the discovery, he frankly spoke the truth to him, “the basic diagnosis of your fundamental problem is you are an asshole.” This brings to the fore that every PR Consultant must be informed about the past of the client so that he can really cave out the desired future and also that the Professional must be able to tell the client the absolute truth.

Equally, Ray also led a campaign in the office, Embrey Publicity, where he talked to Corporate giants about charitable giving by putting the logo on their product – All Heart symbol will be known globally as a symbol of companies that are committed to changing the world. They’ll give away their sustenance goods of food, drugs, power, clothing for free.” In his discussion, he was accosted by a businessman to define the concept of “free” which Ray defined as “only those who really need it. Only to those who without it would otherwise die”.  

The other part of the discussion was when he mentioned that “everyone is talking about it”, he was asked, “who is everyone?”. The import of this discussion is that generalization does not have a place in audience mapping; you have to be sure of the targeting in other to hit the point. Every professional within the Marketing communications space must be convinced of his product offering and be able to project the purchasing mix.

Back to Hancock and Ray, he thought him how to interface with the public; how to transform his power into willpower. Eventually, Hancock who had been declared wanted surrendered in a Press Conference; he admitted his inappropriate behaviour and accepted the consequences of his action. He was imprisoned and he promised to participate in the alcohol and anger management treatment while in prison.

“Just be patient, you got to trust me on this alright?”

“You believe in me, don’t you, Hancock?

He responded, “I believe in you. Help me up here.”

He assured him, “We gonna do great, you are gonna fix everything.”

“Trust me, trust this plan, this process!”

These statements struck a chord in me, they were said in different scenes but it showed that the job of an Image or Reputation Consultant is firstly built on trust. You need to believe in his ability discover you, develop the winning strategy, be patience within him in his delivery because it could take time to reach the desired goal and be assured that you will collaboratively achieve the desired greatness.

However, because the movie is an action comedy, there are fantasies in it as well- the immortality of Hancock; his technical marriage from the past with Mary, Ray’s wife and his eventual departure from the family.

It is exciting that this flick asserts that Public Relations has the ability to “switch that cycle. We’re gonna start fresh, start now”. Start your business afresh by speaking to a Public Relations Consultant who has the ability to change how the public perceives your products and brand!

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