By Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W PR
It seems not only politicians and entertainment figures recognize the importance of public relations these days. Even notorious criminals see ways of benefiting from what public relations has to offer. For instance, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a Mexican drug lord, recently requested that his colleagues and wife keep him in the news.
But why the recent interest in remaining relevant in the news? El Chapo remains behind bars for the third time in his drug career and intends to get out… again. He let himself out in mid-July of last year when he escaped through a mile-long tunnel and made for freedom. Six months later, local law enforcement recaptured him and marched him back to prison.
As this was not the first time El Chapo escaped from prison, the authorities are no longer taking chances. With the stricter measures in place, his wife now claims he is wasting away in the prison due to slow torture, lack of privacy, high blood pressure, and the guard’s refusal to let him rest. She insists the local authorities simply want to make him pay for the embarrassment his escape caused them.
The Publicity Stunts
If the “innocent young wife” pleading for the release of her husband was not enough, El Chapo’s attorney also took a stand. Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza called a news conference outside the maximum-security prison holding El Chapo. During the news conference, Gonzalez Meza wore a shirt saying “Extradition Never!!!” and threatened to go on a hunger strike to support his client. He also called on other nationals to join him.
In addition, media reports recently involved a bounty allegedly placed on presidential candidate, Donald Trump, for the amount of $100 million. Though El Chapo’s legal team denied the claims, it still painted El Chapo as a savior to many Mexicans opposed to Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.
The Growth of PR
At the rate public relations continues to grow, it wouldn’t surprise many if the right to PR representation became prevalent for convicted criminals in a few years. Imagine that filtering its way into the Miranda rights. Wouldn’t that be something?
The importance placed on public relations by El Chapo and his team shows the importance of public relations in all facets of life and all fields of business – legal and illicit.
By allowing his young, beautiful and – some would say even – naïve wife to paint her own picture of him to the media, he transforms for some from the beast law enforcement paints him as to a knight in shining armor. In essence, not only does he do some much-needed damage control, but he also builds his “brand” as a loving husband and devoted father. Whether or not this helps him achieve his goals, however, remains to be seen.