PR Stunts or Propaganda?

12 Dec

And the winners are….. Little Mix! 

For those of you who have being living on Pluto for the last 24 hours the final instalment of the X-factor finale saw Little Mix grab first place over Marcus Collins with 48.3% of the votes. Marcus received 42.8% with Amelia Lilly receiving just 8.9% of the votes. (XFactor ITV, 2011)

Having voted for the ‘little muffins’ three times and I am over joyed that they won the show. However every year there is always the same controversy with people claiming its a ‘fix’ simply because their favorite act hadn’t made it!  Could it be that the controversy is the shows outstanding PR team?

The shortcomings of “Frankie-Coke-up-the-Nozza”

We have Louis, the x-factors third wheel whose knowledge of boy bands is extensive, Tulisa, a self-made pop star from the hood, Gary, a legend to the UK pop industry, and Kelly, the retired backing singer to Beyonce. These guys would be able to recognise singing talent if they were deaf, right?….Well all my views suddenly changed when Frankie Cocozza joined the X-factor….

Since his very first audition I was like, ‘wow this guy thinks he’s already Kurt Cobain” his ‘rock star’ appeal somehow made the judges and public see far past his singing abilities. Until, controversy broke.

Unfortunately for me it was no surprise when I saw that Frankie had been fired from the X-factor for breaking one of the shows ‘Golden Rules’. However sadly it was still no surprise when I found out it was because of drugs. Since he first appeared on the show he was perceived to be a cheeky chap who had an eye “or bum” for the ladies.

However over the weeks, Frankie was seen to be continually causing mayhem, all of which was snapped by the newspapers. Gary Barlow, Cocozza’s mentor released this statement:

“We’ve all encouraged Frankie to be bad, it’s just gone too far, out of control for us to be able to as a show to still have him on here.”  (Telegraph,2011)

Although I can appreciate he has no singing  abilities what so ever, I cannot condone how he has been let down by the show. To me, It’s the biggest PR stunt of the year.


Have you ever wondered why the X-factor has the ability to take over the UK ever year? Constant media coverage is what keeps us all in the know. Contrary to Rich Leigh from @GoodandBadPR (PRmoment, 2011) I think that the shows PR team have been particularly outstanding this year, however their approach to success has been somewhat disgusting to watch.

It is to my believe that Frankie Cocozza was used as a ploy to engage viewers whilst the show made him behave in ‘appealing’ ways. The constant news interest surrounding him linked him back to the show, in turn promoting the show. As I keep saying, “Is any news, bad news?” In order to eliminate any negative associations with the show, Frankie was pulled, connoting ‘their ‘good nature’. Although I don’t believe voting figures were fixed, I would say that the firing of Frankie was a good way of bringing Amelia Lilly back into the competition.  It’s not just issues surrounding Frankie, think about Misha B.

Surely its Propaganda?

“The deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions and direct behaviour to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist” (Jowett and O’Donnell, 1992)


"Who's to blame for the war?"

Adolf Hitler “Saw propaganda as a vehicle of political salesmanship in a mass market, and argued that it was a way of conveying a message to the bulk of the German people, not to intellectuals.” (BBC, David Welch, 2011)


Joseph Gobbels, a Nazi party member became Adolf Hitlers propaganda minister in 1933,

which gave him power over all German radio, press, cinema and theatre.

Gobbels, perfected the ‘Big Lie’ technique of propaganda, which is based on the principle that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses.

Although, outdated, Gobbels produced a list of ‘Principles of Propaganda’,

Although the Nazi example of propaganda is quite a far right example, it helps in understanding the aspects of propaganda and also shows the effectiveness. Considering how propaganda is used to manipulate public opinion. I believe that rather than a PR stunt, the X-factor uses propaganda to manipulate our feelings towards the contestants in order to subliminally  ‘fix’ the results. Lets face it, are Little Mix the first girl group to win the X-factor for a reason?….

Just for a laugh… Good old-fashioned propaganda


6 Responses to “PR Stunts or Propaganda?”

  1. danielle jones December 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    soooo true, especially about the frankie thing, he was good in his first audition then suddenly he just changed to a ‘real badboy’ defiantly a stunt for the viewing figures!

    • michomoom December 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      Hi Danielle,

      Thank you for your comment!

      Although I think he has always been perceived as ‘a bad boy’, I definitely think the show played on this when they finally realised he had no singing abilities what so ever. However when it started going too far they needed to pull him somehow, and what fits a rock star lifestyle better than drugs? ummmm…..

  2. Natalie December 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    I agree that x-factor encouraged Frankie to be a bad boy, they used it to their advantage. They turned him into a bad boy with no boundries, his mentor should have set some boundries for Frankie to stop him falling into the trap. This was a PR Stunt that went too far, I really enjoyed the blog : )

    • michomoom December 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Rather than criticizing the lack of boundaries set by his mentor and thus the show, I think the area which needs criticizing is the PR, its to my belief that they practically ruined Frankie’s image in return for just a few more viewers!

      We have seen in the past that the show can be as strict or as lenient as they want, so I wonder why they choose to be ‘lenient’ with Frankie?!

      Thanks again


  3. Meg December 14, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    I think to begin with he was perceived as more of a ‘cheeky lad’ but as the show went on he just got worse and worse. I’m not defending Frankie in the slightest but I don’t think X-Factor should have been encouraging his behaviour for some cheap publicity, they’ve made themselves look like idiots for taking him on in the first place and they’ve made just made Frankie look like a druggy waster… However, they did save themselves a bit by giving more deserving contestants (with actual singing abilities) another chance!

    • michomoom December 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Meg,

      I totally agree with you! The whole controversy about them ‘fixing’ the results is made obvious. Although they don’t physically change voting figures, they get to decide how we see the contestants through the media. For example the bullying incident with Mischa B. Other shows such as Big Brother also show evidence of ‘vote fixing’ as they get to choose what the viewers see!

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