So, you have arranged a photo shoot to help boost your campaign, the photographer has turned up on time, as has your appropriately dressed client. The lighting is just right and you’re ready to go. But before you send the prints off to your carefully chosen list of publications, have you checked that the perfect backdrop you spent days researching is all that it seems?
Recently, Conservative minister Matthew Hancock was caught out by the simplest of blunders, his PR team did not check to see what was in shot before sending his nicely posed photo opportunity to Total Politics magazine.
Snapped on a Borris Bike at an event to re-brand the Barclays cycle scheme in the undercroft on South Bank, what everyone failed to notice was ‘sack Cameron’ emblazoned on the pillar behind him.
Some have argued that this was an intentional set up, sending a subliminal message about Hancock’s true feelings, but one would hope he is a little more subtle than that.
Hancock is, of course, not the only person to have fallen foul of dodgy scenery; Nadine Dorries got a bum deal when she visited the Hybrid Air Vehicles aerospace factory and considering how events unfolded John Major posed in front of a particularly badly placed sign during his ill-fated 1997 general election campaign.
This situation is so common that it was parodied in The Thick of It by the fictional politician Nicola Murray posing in front of Liam Bentley’s name..
Photo opportunities can help to make or break a campaign, a well thought out shot can do wonders in terms of PR, but so often so much goes so wrong and with social media sending images viral in seconds any PR would be wise to add ‘check background’ to their seemingly endless list of things to do…