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"Scandal"-ous Public Relations Strategies

Lisa Astor

As a self-professed (and proud) “Scandal” addict, I enjoyed the recent “Saturday Night Live” spoof of the show that made fun of the drama’s improbable “fixes” – including immediate access to highly classified information and the ability to get to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.

Many fans of the show liken Olivia Pope’s brood of fixers to professionals in the public relations industry. While we would love if every reporter was at our beck and call and that we called the shots, not clients, it’s a completely unrealistic look at how (the majority) of PR professionals operate.

That said, if you take away the back-stabbing, double crossing and torture (!!), there are some lessons PR pros can take away from Pope and company:

  • Go the Extra Mile – Fortunately for us, going the extra mile doesn’t often mean 3 a.m. emergency calls or getting rid of a dead body. But drafting social posts to go with the coverage you secured or providing an analysis of what the latest industry acquisition means will always put you ahead.


  • Always Have a Plan – You don’t need to be running for re-election to need a solid plan. Olivia always has her plan, and knows how to quickly pivot when circumstances change. You should as well. It’s the best way to keep the train on the tracks and everyone accountable.


  • Divide and Conquer – The Pope machine is most successful when Harrison, Huck, Quinn and Abby each have their assigned responsibilities and then collaborate to bring it together. Your PR team will work best when everyone can “own” a certain part of the program and lead the group on that initiative.


While “Scandal” may not be the model for how to run a PR firm, there are certainly lessons we can glean from their antics. What takeaways did we miss? Any strategies from “Scandal” you would implement? Comment below or tweet us at @PANComm before tomorrow night’s highly anticipated episode!

Topics: Culture prspeak Services

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