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advocacy model of public relations.
A strong strategy to be used only after careful consideration of the pros and cons, activism offers many opportunities for organizations to present their messages and enhance their relationship with key publics, particularly their members and sympathizers. Activism generally deals with causes or movements, such as social issues (crime, capital punishment or abortion, for example), environmental matters (pollution, suburban sprawl, nuclear waste), political concerns and so on. A distinction might be made between advocates, who essentially are vocal proponents for causes, and activists, who are more inclined to act out their support for the cause. Look at the discussion on opponents in Step 3 for more information about advocates and other types of social activists. Consider some of the tactics associated with the strategy of activism: strikes, pickets, sit-ins, petitions, boycotts, marches, vigils, rallies and outright civil disobedience. Activists often make effective use of the news media because their tactics involve physical protests and thus are highly visible. Effective activism often has an element of visual appeal. More than a publicity stunt, activist events involve newsworthy action done as much for the television viewers as for any other public. For example, when deathpenalty opponents marched past the Missouri governor's mansion in Jefferson City in 1999, they carried a cardboard coffin and paper tombstones. News photographers and television crews undoubtedly appreciated their visual creativity. Sometimes activism involves civil disobedience, a nonviolent and nonlegal but generally visual undertaking. Often such protests are loaded with symbolism. Julia "Butterfly" Hill set the tree-sitting record in 1999, spending 738 days—more than two years—atop a 1,000-year-old redwood tree in Northern California protesting a logging project. The well-publicized protest was orchestrated by Earth First!, a radical environmental activist group waging a 12-year battle to save the trees. From her residence in the tree she called "Luna," Hill gave cell-phone interviews to reporters and talked with schoolchildren around the world. This kind of activism often transforms itself into theater, particularly when protestors are courting TV coverage. Indeed the term street theater (alternatively called guerrilla theater) refers to social and political protests that take the form of dramatizations in public places. During a presidential campaign debate in October 2000 in Boston, protestors dramatized what they saw as the candidates' contempt for the masses. Dressing as bigmoney contributors with top hats and three-piece suits, they chanted mockingly: "One-two-three-four. We are rich and you are poor." And the TV video crews were delighted! The author's award for creative activist strategy goes to this well-orchestrated 1999 publicity stunt: Two dozen New York City community activists staged a sit-in on the marble floor of City Hall, singing "We Shall Overcome" accompanied by kazoos and wearing insect outfits and flowered hats. They were protesting Mayor Rudolph § Giuliani's decision to auction off city-owned lots that neighborhood groups had turned ^ into community gardens. Wait, there's more: Enter the New York Police Department in ; % riot gear, and as the protestors went limp, the police had to carry them to a waiting If police van. Now that's entertainment! |$| But many protests are more serious. The Makah, a Native American tribe in Washington state, is the only whaling tribe in the lower 48 states. The tribal whaling Step commission declared its intention to return to its
ongoing communication and. Renato Ruggiero. and transparent communication. Usually the only consequence of pie throwing is media coverage. and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. just because. over the new Euro currency. In Canada. provincial pie brigades have been involved in a series of pie-throwing plots and schemes aimed at embarrassing various public officials. So too are the targets of your activism. Activist strategy must provide for the "feeding" of these troops with continuing motivation. Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm. often with mixed motivations— who are being asked to give time and perhaps take risks on behalf of the cause. keep a clear eye on all your publics. who was pied because of his use of fur. But perhaps most important is your internal public—generally volunteers. Proctor & Gamble chairman John Pepper. Activists sometimes stretch ethical boundaries. when possible. another cluster of strategies deals more with communication. on live television. If you are planning an activist strategy. over endangered sea turtles. director-general of the World Trade Organization. who found they could gain media attention and thus a platform for their messages by pulling their relatively benign stunts on famous people. The media swarmed and whaling protestors gathered. Pie throwing has become a tactic-of-choice for some activists. its first in 70 years. In 1999. . but three San Francisco activists who protested the mayor's policies on the homeless by throwing tofu-cream and pumpkin pies in his face were sentenced to six months in prison. the attainment of milestone victories that can shore up their dedication. whom you are attempting to persuade toward some kind of action or response. Targets have included fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. over animal rights. Certainly the news media are important. newsworthy information. Communication Strategies While the previous proactive strategies focus on the action of the organization.traditional ways and hold a whale 5 hunt. entering an area public relations practitioners should avoid. Three such strategies are publicity. and in Europe several anti-Euro protestors who used lemon meringue as their weapon of choice received short jail terms. a successful hunt involved the ceremonial butchering of the captured whale.