Obama’s Nobel: PR quandary cloaked in a global honor

Does the world’s top award set the bar too high for the ‘humbled’ first-year president? Video

Does the world’s top award set the bar too high for the ‘humbled’ first-year president?

Imagine waking up your boss with this scenario:

“Sir, we’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is you’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize. The bad news is … you’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize.”

That is, of course, the reality President Obama faced Friday morning when he woke to the startling news that he had won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

Many people welcomed the announcement, while others—claiming Obama doesn’t deserve the award—used it as an opportunity to criticize the president.

In a bizarre twist, it seems that winning a coveted award could create a PR problem for the president.

“We live in a strange world,” Peter Himler, founder of Flatiron Communications LLC, said in an e-mail to Ragan.com. For instance, bad news, like David Letterman’s admission of an affair, boosted his ratings; meanwhile, good news, like winning a Nobel Prize, may backfire on Obama. “It is the job of the PR professional to anticipate all potential scenarios and ensure that the newsmaker is prepared to deal with those that ultimately manifest.”

Himler and other PR professionals explained how the president can prevent a PR backlash.

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