If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Occupy movement must be feeling a few pats on the back. Besides the similar start-ups around the country and across the oceans, the Associated Press found a few copycats: Occupy the NBA, Occupy the Bathroom, Occupy the Bar and Occupy Sesame Street with Cookie Monster in front of a sign claiming that “99% of the world’s cookies are consumed by 1% of the monsters.” So it looks like the message is finally getting through.
Another sign of its improving PR plan is the recent celebrity endorsements. What better mix of message movers and shakers is there than two 1960s folk heroes with resumes full of protests and a figure head with a mighty pulpit?
Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie appeared a few days ago at Occupy Wall Street. The 92-year-old Seeger and 64-year-old Guthrie can walk the walk and talk the talk and have well-known histories to prove it.
Pope Benedict XVI appears to have given his blessing, too – maybe not directly, but certainly in support of the message. On Monday the Vatican released a document about the world economy. There may be differing points of view between the pope and some of the protesters about abortion, but when it comes to redistribution of wealth the pope says right on! Benedict condemns what he calls a ‘scandal of glaring inequalities.’
However, according to a recent CNN/ORC International poll, the movement may need a little more divine intervention. Despite large majorities who clearly think that Wall Street bankers are greedy, overpaid and dishonest, four in ten respondents don’t have an opinion about the weeks-long protests.
Perhaps now another PR tactic comes into play – stay the course. Some of the best known and successful protests in American history began with a few believers who took on plenty of criticism, fumbled for focus, but stuck it out, thrived and ultimately changed American behavior.