Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic 'cheer squads': Building atmosphere or Chinese propaganda? Or good public relations?

There is an interesting article in The Times Online today saying that China has admitted using so called 'cheer squads' to fill empty seats and create atmosphere at less than popular events at the Olympics.

There is a certain about of disdain being heaped upon China for such perceived skulduggery and it is seen as being just a hair's breadth from the undoubted abuse of human rights that does cast a shadow over the games.

Honestly though! It isn't the same thing and they have been quite open about it with the bussed in crowds dressed the same and chanting in unison. Very different to the silence meeting questions about the lengthy spells in 're-education camps' for ticket touts (which may indeed be fair punishment but that is another question!).

So as a public relations company Morgan PR feels this should be examined from a PR point of view - the result of using the 'cheer squads' is that the stadiums are full - not just for the world's cameras, but also for the competitors who are surely spurred on the greater achievements by a roaring and chanting crowd rather than the lost smattering of polite applause that might otherwise echo around the stadium.

Besides, look at the Oscars. They have specially hired stooges to scoot into the empty seat of a celebrity who nips off to powder their nose lest the sweeping camera capture an gap in the audience - and that is seen as good public relations.

So bang the human rights drum loudly, but let's not pick a fight over good PR!

1 comment:

Graham Jones said...

It's nothing new I'm afraid Nigel. When I worked in the record industry back in the late 70s and early 80s we used to pay students and other supporters to whoop and cheer our bands at appropriate moments. When I worked in the theatre it was common to employ people to lead standing ovations. We've been doing it here for centuries - and I'm quite sure the Greek orators all those thousands of years ago had their own "cheer leaders".