By Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W Public Relations
As CEO of an award-winning PR Agency, I salute one of the largest firms in the world, Ketchum for their brilliant work of placing today’s op-ed article by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the New York Times. Writing an op-ed urging the American people to oppose a possible US initiative for military strikes in Syria is a smart PR move, and the timing was perfect.
Placing the story one day after President Obama’s prime time televised speech in which he called for a diplomatic pause before moving forward with any military action against the Assad regime allows Putin to show himself as the man with a plan. Ketchum’s client is seen as the protector of Syria, Anti-War (that can’t hurt), and shows Putin as a major world player. Major victory for Brand Russia.
Putin has time and time again proven himself to be a brilliant public relations tactician.
As detailed in the book “The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia” who worked in PR with Ketchum, the firm has earned more than $50 Million in Russian projects in the last 7 years. Russia’s image is vitally important to Putin and he’s great at understanding media. Russia used theSnowden affair to their advantage to make the case that America was a bully, and now they have taken it full-circle. At the time of Snowden, a Russian political analyst was quoted as saying “What happens now doesn’t matter because public opinion in Russia has already been shaped – America is lying, dishonest and has double standards.” This op-ed is piling onto the case against America by the Russians.
It was brilliant PR a few months ago when Putin granted French actor Gerard Depardieu honorary citizenship after Depardieu decided to flee France, due to their 75% millionaire’s tax. Hundreds of media stories highlighted the fact that
Russia has a 13% tax rate. As Russia’s Vice-Prime Minister then tweeted: “In the West, they don’t know about the substance of our taxation system. When they find out, there will be a mass migration of rich Europeans to Russia.”
And Putin has repeatedly pulled off similar PR stunts to enhance Russia’s image.
In the world of public relations, clearly Putin is a genius. Using the media’s bully pulpit to score points is good old fashioned PR. Who would have thought that in the year 2013, Russia would use American media to prevent a war?
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, the American Business Awards 2013 PR Firm of the Year.