Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Open Dei: I may be the only one, but I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code. I tried. I bought it, at the recommendation of friends, and I started it three or four times. But I must be the only person in the world who found it completely unreadable and barely literate. For that reason (and because of the presence of Tom Hanks) I have absolutely no interest in seeing the forthcoming movie.

But I understand that it presents something of a challenge to Opus Dei, the Roman Catholic organization portrayed as shadowy and villainous in the book, and so I read with interest a number of articles examining the group’s PR response (here, and here).

I have to say I’m quite impressed with the position taken by Opus Dei spokesman Brian Finnerty, who says that while “it’s very sad that Opus Dei and the Catholic Church were portrayed unfairly in the novel… What we’re trying to do is take advantage of the interest to explain what the real Opus Dei is all about.” The group is also working with American and British television networks on independent documentaries to appear around the debut of the movie.

The lemons-into-lemonade strategy is far smarter than a boycott, or protests outside the theatres—tactics that would likely generate greater buzz (as if the movie needs it) and also reinforce the sinister portrayal of the organization.

All of the coverage I have seen so far has been pretty fair and balanced.

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