The One Where F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Gives a PR Lesson
I have been studying public relations for roughly three and a half years. Within this time frame, I may have watched the 10 seasons of Friends a total of 15 times. While I know the show and its iconic moments like Ross knows Rachel, it was not until about cycle number 13 that I started to realize that each character teaches us something new about PR.
Chandler Bing - The Storyteller
The first scene of the first season fades into the Central Perk coffee shop where Chandler is telling a story about the dreams he has been having. Regardless of the topic, we fall victim to the reason PR professionals have adopted storytelling.
Chandler takes his listeners on an interactive journey, helping them visualize exactly what he experienced and stimulating their emotions. Baer Performance Marketing explains the impact storytelling has on PR strategies claiming that this approach helps companies deeply connect with their audience.
Phoebe Buffay - The Creative Soul
Whether she is singing Smelly Cat, Two of Them Kissed Last Night or The Holiday Song, Phoebe proves that creativity helps listeners remember a message. PR professionals use creativity on social media, blog writing and other ways to attract attention.
By implementing the creativity Phoebe uses in her songs, messages for a company can become more memorable having consumers chanting their mission statement like Friends fans chant the opening song.
Joey Tribbiani - The Loyalist
The characteristic that is remembered most about Joey is his ability to attract the ladies, but perhaps the most admirable trait Joey represents is his loyalty.
Loyalty is also listed in the PRSA Code of Ethics. Much like the way Joey is loyal to his friends, PR professionals are expected to be faithful to those they represent while also serving the public.
Monica Geller - The Planner
Monica’s attention to detail contributes to her ability to plan. Whether she is planning
Phoebe’s wedding, Rachel’s moving day or Chandler’s workout schedule, Monica always has a plan set in place.
This is similar to PR professionals who always have to have a plan ready in case a crisis
occurs. They also frequently make planning sheets to identify key publics and messages
for these publics, all of which sound very Monica-esque.
Ross Geller - The Expert
Many Friends fans find Ross’ love for paleontology slightly annoying. However, this
quality is exactly what makes Ross such a good symbol for public relations.
Ross has spent much of his life learning about paleontology and teaching others about it
as well. Through his professional development, he becomes an expert in his field and
never stops learning about dinosaurs, much like PR professionals never stop learning how to build mutual understanding and credibility.
Rachel Green - The Chameleon
Rachel is arguably the character on the show who embraces change with the most grace.
She leaves her former life to become independent and live in a new city. When she finds out she is pregnant, she adjusts even though it was a surprise.
PR professionals should embrace change in the same way Rachel does. The PR industry is continually changing with respect to technology, social media and trends. By adapting quickly, professionals can stay one step ahead of their competitors.
So “How you doin?” after reading this comparison? Hopefully you realize PR is never on a break and the characters teach us unique lessons about public relations. So the next time you are stuck in an ATM vestibule with Jill Goodacre, tell her about this blog post and always remember they’ll be there for you.
Blakelee Steeb is a senior majoring in public relations. She is an account manager for Fifth Street and the President of PRSSA for the Anderson chapter. She plays on the softball team and works for the Sports Information Office on campus.