The many critics of PR tend to pick on its two extremes: the sometimes nefarious world of lobbying and the often flakey world of celebrity promotion. Yet many PR people work on public awareness campaigns for government agencies or not-for-profit organisations. Their campaigns often do good, and sometimes save lives.
The successful ‘back to sleep’ campaign is being credited with a 75% decline in SIDS – ‘cot death’ – since 1991, as reported in medical journal The Lancet. Yet the media picks up on the downside of the campaign – its relative lack of success among low income families. Will this give another crumb to the critics: a chance to characterise public relations as the elite talking to the educated, but not reaching out to the have-nots?