Note to "self appointed public relations representatives": Don't skimp on the purple tee-shirts.
Seriously, we wish nothing but the best for Marengo County Junior Miss Contestant Elizabeth Hamilton (That's her on the left, by the way. If you know her, apologize on my behalf for singling her out.) Though a little long, this article does carry some valuable lessons.
- Puff pieces do get ink.
When you see something like Special to the Times, that usually means someone at the paper took a press release that was lying around, and dumped it into the word processor. When you see a newspaper that has a lot of "specials," you know where you can find an outlet for easy publicity.
- Don't laugh at the tee-shirts.
It's not the most sophisticated thing a marketer could use, and it certainly doesn't always qualify as cost efficient. But then again, these pageants are highly political, and there's nothing wrong with a little campaigning. When you have a limited target audience (a panel of judges), a little bit of well-placed advertising can help. Judges like to be popular, too.
- Mom and dad are right.
Pageant people don't get enough credit for their training:
One of the unnerving parts of the competition is the personal appearances. The girls have been warned they could be photographed at any time, and Beth already got a taste of what she is in for.
"They stuck cameras in our faces during orientation."
To help her poise, she has spoken to the Demopolis Pilot Club and will speak at Kiwanis. She will be using a line from the poet e.e. cummings as part of her 15-second self-expression statement.
She also is boning up on current events.
"Mom kind of walks around the house and says 'Beth, what do you think of...'." laughed Beth.
She doesn't even get a reprieve from her father. "I thought he was on my side," she said in jest.
Yeah, 15 seconds doesn't sound like much. But how many of you aspiring and current spokespeople can nail a perfect 15 seconds at a moment's notice? With the camera in your face? On a random topic?
Sounds like a winning training exercise to me.