The best public relations and advertising films

Are we marketers? Are we advertisers? Are we bloggers? Truthfully, public relations professionals wear a few different hats and since a picture says a million words, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite movies that help us describe what exactly PR is. With the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, we couldn’t think of a better time to flaunt our favourite movie character spirit animals. Often busy, often difficult, but always fun, these movies showcase why we love what we do! Grab your popcorn, settle in and enjoy the slightly exaggerated but pretty accurate day-in-the-life.

sex-and-the-citySex in the City (1998-2004, 2008, 2010)

Created by Darren Star
Plot: No list written in an all-female public relations agency would be complete without this one. In case you’ve never seen this HBO classic (and if you haven’t, go now!), Sex in the City is about the fabulous lives of four females living it up in the city of dreams, New York City. Carrie Bradshaw is a columnist for a magazine, Samantha Jones is in PR and the series follows all four characters through their sometimes glamorous and always hilarious lives. But honestly, I don’t think this show needs any introduction.
Why we like it: I think this one is pretty obvious. public relations and social media go hand in hand and in the late 90s, when this iconic series started, blogging was not as mainstream as it is now. Enter Carrie’s column, which talked about everything a girl wanted to know about love and life; the first version of a lifestyle blog! And to top it off, hot shot Samantha was a PR agent representing some pretty sexy clients. A story about a group of strong, female business women who knew how to get ahead!



220px-Jerry_Maguire_movie_posterJerry Maguire (1996)

Directed by Cameron Crowe
Plot: Back in the days when Tom Cruise knew how to act in more than action films, (Cue all five Mission: Impossible movies), he starred as Jerry Maguire, a down on his luck sports agent. After having a crisis of consciousness, he gets fired from his high profile job at a popular sports marketing agency and looks to strike out on his own!
Why we like it: Past the heartwarming plot line, the adorable child star (shout out to Jonathan Lipnicki) and a cast of actors that are at their prime, it is an excellent story to show how much we really care about our job. Jerry’s crisis came because he decided that he wanted to work with fewer clients so he could produce better quality results for them! As a boutique PR firm, it really showcases the attention that we strive to give our clients. It will make you nostalgic for the good old Tom Cruise days!



220px-Joneses_posterThe Joneses (2009)

Directed by Derrick Borte
Plot: A seemingly normal, stepford-esque family moves to a new neighbourhood because of a relocation from their job. The plot seems simple and normal, but the family is not. This movie takes product placement to the extreme as the Jonese are actually a marketing unit who attempt to incorporate product placement into their daily lives to drive sales through their new community.
Why we like it:  Although overdramatic at best, this movie is an interesting look at a new generation of public relations. As influencers become a popular advertising method, The Joneses aren’t too far off. It is a comical look at just how far the world of marketing can be taken as the Jonese use their everyday life to sell to their target demographic. Could be the next step in PR and advertising?




220px-Art_&_Copy_PosterArt & Copy (2009)

Directed by Doug Pray

Plot: If you’re a fan of documentaries, this one is for you! Art and Copy takes a look into the world of creative industries, specifically advertising. It follows the lives of the people who created some of the most memorable advertising campaigns of our generation, such as Nike’s “Just Do It” and the famous “I Love NYC” quote. It provides great insight into creative industries and how the minds of advertisers work to influence society.

Why we like it: Public relations is all about creativity. You have to strive to find the newest and most groundbreaking method of creating a positive public perception of a product. This quote from the movie summarizes it well: “The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from, really. And especially, you don’t have any idea about where they’re going to come from tomorrow.” As public relations professionals, we have to stay on top and ahead of trends for our amazing clients. This movie is a great way to learn from some of advertising’s greatest minds!

No_(2012_film)No (2012)

Directed by Pablo Larrain

Plot: It is 1988 and Chile is going through some major changes, After being ruled by a military dictatorship, the chance has come up for the people of Chile to vote in a referendum which will decide whether the current leader can serve for another 8 years or if it is time to enter a democracy. This documentary follows the real story of Advertising Creator Réne Saavedra as he creates his most important campaign: to get people to vote “No” to continuing the military dictatorship and “Yes” to democracy.

Why we like it: There’s no denying the power of advertising, public relations and the media. This is an amazing Spanish language documentary that was a TIFF official selection in 2012. It aims to show the power of advertising in a positive light. Using classic PR and advertising tactics, Réne fights for positive change in a country that has been controlled by terror for years. A touching story about the power of persuasion for both good and bad.

Want to know what else the On Q team loves? Check our our favourite digital detox locations, on the blog!


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