PR Hits & Misses of “King of Boys: The Return of the King”
By Efe Obiomah
Before I started blogging about film and television, I reached out to a friend — a journalist whom I respect tremendously— for advice. He told me that in writing reviews, there were no right or wrong answers. That the totality of who I am would come into play.
I guess they call it “your authentic voice,” but I was glad he did not call it that at the time because I might not have found it. That is the best writing advice I have received to date. Still, I did not fully understand what he meant until I wrote my first review of a Nigerian film, “New Money.”
When I wrote about “New Money,” I was ticked off that public relations (PR) practitioners were portrayed as stuck-up. When I wrote about “Lionheart,” I wore my accountant’s hat. And when I wrote about “Who’s the Boss,” I was disappointed at the watering down of the agency pitch process. That writing tip has kept me grounded when I hold an unpopular viewpoint.
The brown envelope
The first miss came early in “King of Boys: The Return of the King.” In episode one, Eniola Salami returns to the country and reporters accost her on the airport tarmac. Her campaign manager Adetola Fashina brings out a brown envelope containing her statement and reads it. It was tacky!
PR pros do not keep press statements or speeches in brown envelopes. They’d use a folder instead; to keep them tidy. The assumption is that Alhaja Salami and Fashina travelled together on the private jet — because from what we know about the character, she was always accompanied by aides. So, Alhaja Salami must have told the Fashina what to write. As such, it was unlikely that she wrote the statement herself and handed it to him on arrival.
That scene could have been better played; à la “House of Cards” and “Scandal,” where the spokesperson and speechwriter would usually work on the speech on the flight and so disembark holding it printed.
This one is ironic because it contains a miss and a hit, back-to-back. During lunch, the governor’s wife, Jumoke Randle, asks for the reverend’s endorsement of her husband for the upcoming gubernatorial elections; he declines. Jumoke says it doesn’t have to be an overt endorsement. She and her husband would attend service at his church but “leak their schedule to the press”. The problem is that the governor has a press corps. They typically follow the governor around, so no “leaking” is required. Interestingly, as the reverend steps out of the governor’s residence, the press were outside, and it became an automatic photo-op. That was well-played!
The press conference
During media training, we say: “know your key message and stick to it.” Eniola Salami did just that when the journalist Dapo Banjo asked her why she was called the king of boys. What an artful response? And how tasteful was the branding?
The market ambush
Eniola Salami takes her political campaign to the market. Just as she is about to win over an indifferent trader, Jumoke Randle shows up with her husband’s supporters and a television crew and steals the show. The lesson learnt? Monitor your opponent/ competitor and be ready to respond.
The meeting with the editor
This one has to do with corporate culture. When Dapo Banjo tries to convince his editor to publish the Eniola Salami story, he slams a file on his editor’s desk and taps it continually, in annoyance. Nigerian reporters revere their editors so, that is unlikely. More so, who smokes in the office in Nigeria? I know that the series is fictional and that the director probably staged the scene to appeal to Netflix’s global audience, yet authenticity matters.
Do you wear your PR hat when you watch movies and series? I would love to read about your experience.
Efe Obiomah is a publicist and PR thought leader demystifying public relations in Nigeria. she has also written about film and television, and loves travelling.