Occupy Wall Street may be weakened, but the brand seems to be doing fine: The protest movement just won a prestigious PR award.
Technically, the award went to Workhouse Publicity, a high-end New York firm that launched a pro-bono Occupy campaign after protestors took over Zuccotti Park last year. On Thursday, Workhouse scored the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award — the Oscar of the industry — for public service with an entry called “The Revolution Will Be Editorialized.”
High fives all around? Not so fast.
“It’s great that Occupy is being acknowledged, but Workhouse has been pretty much promoting itself while doing the work,” Dana Balicki, a member of Occupy’s press team, told us Monday. “Our success shouldn’t rely on a company that works with the one percent.”
Workhouse CEO Adam Nelson told us he went down to the park on the first day of the protest, photographed homemade signs (“One of the most powerful just said, ‘Enough’”) and tasked his team with shifting the media’s focus from the demonstrators to their issues. The firm, which promotes movies, restaurants and luxury retailers, has a history of pro-bono work for charitable causes (Greenpeace, Make A Wish, 9/11 relief) and sent a press release to 500,000 global contacts, then organized concerts and an album — all without any official affiliation with Occupy.
The firm “never made a dime,” said Nelson — but did win that Silver Anvil: “I honestly feel this is not a Workhouse award. I hope this keeps the conversation going on behalf of Occupy.”
Plans call for Occupy to be at the Republican and Democratic conventions, as well as a gathering in Philly on July 4.
Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” ripped into the protestors Friday, saying it is time for Occupy to stop the campouts and get in the political process: “That means boring stuff like canvassing neighborhoods, raising money, running candidates for office, manning phone banks and making a baby with John Edwards.”
Occupy isn’t buying it: “My question back would be, ‘How effective can you be in a broken system?’ ” said Balicki. “We don’t need to run for office to effect change in this country.”
Video: Bill Maher on the future of the Occupy movement (contains profanity).
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