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The Wonderful World of Public Relations

Painting the Canvas Of A Free Mind

The skill in publicity is to paint a picture around a topic, thus applying direction – with the course being approached absolutely controlled by the publicist. Utter control is indeed the main objective here; controlling the target audience, controlling consumers, controlling the public. The profession relies and prospers on the intelligence that facts, on their own, embody no emotion at all, but the human being is the definition of an emotional hothouse.

By applying an emotional element to an arid fact of any kind, the publicist can steer the direction of thought of the target audience to some extent. What, you don’t believe me? Just read the paragraph above this one again, then answer the following question:

Considering its dangerous potential to massively influence our society, do you think that the power of publicity is likely to be abused by the authorities?

No.

Yes.

Did you answer yes? I just used a couple of rhetorics in an attempt to steer your thoughts into a certain direction. These techniques are:

  • I used a colorful word to evoke an emotion. Control connotes something unfavorable (who likes to be controlled by someone else?), and I loaded it even more by adding utter.
  • I stressed the impact of the emotion by making use of repetition and an inverted climax: controlling the target audience, controlling consumers, controlling the public repeats the same word three times to stimulate its impressiveness, and the sequence of decrescent specifics broadens the scope to include the reader (target audience < consumers < the public).
  • I used intelligence instead of knowledge, which is a colored word and connects the reader’s thoughts to the mystery and respect of intelligence agencies.
  • Finally, in the question itself, I added a call to consideration, which on its own raises awareness; I loaded the terms potential and influence with the words dangerous and massively, and I used an alliteration (power of publicity) to emphasize its importance and make it more memorable.

In marketing and psychology, the art of inquiry is actually a discipline by itself (as well as alliteration in advertising). I could have asked Do you think our government uses publicity to control what becomes public on a regular basis?, and the answers might not be as weighted. I could also have given you more than two options as an answer, but I only offered yes or no, black or white, with the answer I wanted you to pick placed after the other.

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