The photo went around the world and is now printed in all major German newspapers (including Bild): The rulers of the free world put their heads together in a crisis summit on Wednesday morning. The central figure, though standing on the left edge: Chancellor Olaf Scholes (64, SPD).
The powerful of the Western world eagerly debate what A rocket hit Poland A few hours ago it meant to the world: world war or a little peace?
When the world doesn’t know exactly where the rockets that killed two farmers in Poland came from, was the photo taken on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali from Russia or Ukraine?
US President Joe Biden had invited five other NATO heads of state to his representative hotel, the Grand Hyatt, this morning. In the ballroom, the leaders of Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Spain gathered around a round banquet table. Only host Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Chung are seated in the photo (viewed from behind in the photo). There are: President Olaf Scholes, Sanchez of Spain, Macron of France, Trudeau of Canada.
Almost all eyes are on or in the direction of Scholes!
So is the West looking to our president for advice? Is Shaq the man who sets the tone in seconds?
You might think so. You probably should.
Because the film is a government PR. It wasn’t taken by the photographer – it was taken by Scholes’ government spokesman, Steffen Hepstreit. And he has been responsible for many years for the SPD politician’s reputation.
Photography – It’s a balancing act between professional Scholes polish and keyhole display. Photographers never get close to such historic moments. So take what you can get. Seeing through the eyes of a PR strategist is better than seeing nothing at all.
Everything is just PR!
Communications professor Klaus Cox (70, once VW head of PR), told BILD: “It’s supposed to look like a personal photo, but it’s coordinated and staged with the PR staff of other heads of state.”
Cox’s merciless verdict: “The film is a shameless lie!”
And: “We’re treated like thunder kids here – the message to be conveyed: don’t be afraid, Daddy and the other uncles will take care.”
Immo von Fallois (60), head of strategic communications consulting firm WMP Eurocom, looks at a photo whose publication focuses on one thing: “It’s about a photo: an icon.”
Post: “Very clever.”
The photo message, according to Van Falois: “Concentrated liberal power, thoughtful, determined, confident.” And in the center: German chancellor.
G7 photo with Donald Trump: This is how government PR works!
With Chancellor Scholes’ successful G20 snapshot, Steffen Hepstreit is not without a role model: the powerful PR staff of these so-called “manuals”, i.e. with entrusted photographs.
One of the most famous examples: Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump at the G7 summit in Canada in June 2018 – both flanked by Britain’s Theresa May (no longer in office), France’s Macron and Japan’s Shinzo Abe (assassinated in 2022). )
This photo also went viral all over the world. The photo was published in all major German newspapers. This photo from the G7 summit in Canada in 2018 clearly shows how PR works on the government side, how each PR man focuses on his own head of state.
▶︎ Germany team photo: The Chancellor in the center leans powerfully on the table in the direction of Trump, who crosses his arms. She sets the tone and the rest watch her and the American.
▶︎ US team photo: Trump at the center, not focused around him.
▶︎ France: Merkel covers, Macron dominates the scene.
▶︎ Italy: The head of the government at the time Giuseppe Conte – otherwise not seen in any photo – but important here.
▶︎ Canada and Japan also released the show: Canada’s Justin Trudeau, while on the fringes, is the only one who is very active and direct with Donald Trump, then the most powerful man in the world. Japan’s Abe (assassinated on July 9, 2022) leans seriously at the table next to Merkel, who lowers her gaze — between the president and Trump.
But the winning image came from Merkel photographer Denzel. That’s why Trump followed up a few days later — with a four-part photo series to make it clear: It’s me, I’m important, and I rocked it.
Only in the field of PR and propaganda does the sentence that Gorbachev wisely delivered (and probably did not say) apply: “He who comes late gets a life sentence.”
Reminds me of Denzel’s photo of Merkel…
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