Team VIVA! recently attended the opening night of The Great Gatsby at a local Sydney cinema and inspired by an article we read, What ‘The Great Gatsby’ can teach us about PR, we have come up with our own analysis of what lessons the acclaimed 1920s novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald may hold for PR professionals.

When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel, which brought to life the glitter, glamour and corrupt underbelly of Roaring Twenties New York,  we wonder if he was cognisant of the subliminal PR messages it contained:

Our team came up with our own set of ‘PR lessons’ which can be gleaned from the legendary story of J. Gatsby:

1.      Timing is everything.  Gatsby’s one true love, Daisy, slipped through his fingers as he headed off to war, penniless and yet to embark on his lucrative and successful (albeit illegal) business endeavours. By the time he returned she had started a life with another wealthy man. He had missed the boat.

Timing is key to PR. Health campaigns are planned around seasons i.e. winter, when many people tend to reach for medication and other remedies to cure those winter ailments and wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds. Campaigns are often linked in with other major events i.e. political, social, for instance health expos, conferences. Issues in the news which are of importance to the society at the time can be leveraged for a particular campaign. Keeping abreast of trends and the zeitgeist is key.

2.      Importance of branding.  Gatsby had built himself up from a child of poverty to a self-made millionaire who became a glittering beacon of excess, wealth and style to many in New York’s high society.

The power of branding can never be underestimated. Building an image in the public consciousness is vital. The brand has to resonate with a target audience and be synonymous with a product or service for true success to be achieved.

3.      How to dress the part. In The World of J. Gatsby and high society New York in the 1920s, fashion and style were of paramount importance in order to gain entry to the desired social circle. Everything from the brand of one’s shoes, to the car one drove and house one owned, were often a passport to social success.

While the saying goes ‘clothes do not maketh the man,’ the initial impression one makes to a client, including their dress, grooming and speech  is significant and whilst style should never eclipse substance, making a good impression and feeling confident in one’s appearance is crucial in PR pitches, conferences, events and any client interaction.

Oh, and if you happen to fail at any of the above…. throwing Leo DiCaprio into any PR campaign (or movie) will guarantee success!