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It’s been said “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and if that’s the case, how much is a selfie worth? Team Paula devised a spontaneous public relations plan to find out.

On the morning of June 10th, members of the media met at the base of Beacon Hill to watch and cover a Suffolk University/Boston Herald-sponsored debate featuring the five Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor – Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman, and Juliette Kayyem. Each candidate is waging their own unique campaign that insiders say fully complement their personalities.

Yet these personalities are more often than not difficult to define, due to a carefully crafted corset of PR talking points and media appearances literally constricting their every move and thought. For members of the press and political junkies both plugged into the #MAPoli Twitter feed, the differences between each contender are better defined. But despite this amplified social media presence, each candidate’s ability to breaking into the average voter’s newsfeed – and in many ways consciousness – has not fared as well.

So the question becomes – how can one fine-tune their image when the majority of voters don’t know who you are? A recent Suffolk University poll revealed that over 50 percent of those surveyed had never heard of three of the five Democratic candidates. Knowing that here at Regan “your message is our mission,” Team Paula thought outside the box at this debate to not only enhance overall coverage of the debate, but each candidate’s presence as well.

This was a tense roundtable debate, coming mere days before delegates from Pittsfield to Provincetown descend upon Worcester for the Massachusetts Democratic Convention. In an effort to bring some levity to the competitive atmosphere, our team recommended all five candidates pose for a group selfie a la Ellen DeGeneres at the 2014 Oscars. We felt this would be a relaxing invitation after reciting partisan rhetoric for the better part of 90 minutes. Even more so, we felt it would make for a great visual.

TIME Magazine recently ranked Boston the 8th “Selfiest City” in the world. With 88 selfie-takers per 100,000 people (and growing), the candidates let down their respective guards and introduced themselves to a population who rarely look up from their mobile devices. Setting aside their differences for a few seconds, they huddled in close, showed their teeth, and said cheese, all the while joining a growing list of politicians – State House and White House alike – that have come to embrace the selfie concept.

The spur-of-the-moment PR shot was subsequently plastered on the front page of the Boston Herald (See below) and on the Metro section of the Boston Globe. AP stories in outlets throughout the country made sure to include a shot of our state’s Attorney General making a funny face. In the end, coverage and candidate visibility was wholly enhanced.

If a picture is actually worth a thousand words then maybe this #GubernatorialGroupSelfie will actually be worth the chance for one candidate to sit in the Governor’s Office next January. You be the judge.BH-2014-06-11-A001

–          Bryon Hefner, Account Coordinator


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