TOTUS Operandi

Seal courtesy of Mike Moody.

There probably couldn’t be a better time to be promoting teleprompter software. When ever before in history has teleprompting received as much air-time as the President of the United States himself?

Indeed, the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency have been peppered with mentions of teleprompter malfunctions, teleprompter dependency, and, most recently, verbal beefs between man and machine. Jimmy Orr, a writer with the Christian Science Monitor, has a particularly fabulous account of Obama’s teleprompter woes in the April 27 online issue. Orr doesn’t neglect the content of the actual speech (given this week at the National Academy of Sciences annual meeting), but he does make note of Obama’s apparent argument with his teleprompter screen, and even helps coin a new buzzterm for the equipment – TOTUS (the Teleprompter of the United States).

As it seems, the TOTUS hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans of consumer electronics and audio-visual equipment, nor the more casual consumer. While we work on getting the word out about our own teleprompting product here at Winstanley, we’re not going for the hard sell or the long stretch, trying to connect stories of the ObamaPrompter to our own. But people are definitely making the connection for us. Comments left on social media release portals and in emails range from ‘sounds like the Prez could use this!’ to ‘is this the same thing the President is using?’

The lesson: PR pros don’t necessarily need to hit the public over the head with potential links between a product or service and an event in the media. But paying attention to little newsbites helps create context, and in turn, a base at which new conversations can start.

Jaclyn Stevenson is the director of public relations for Winstanley Partners.She recently took a ski lesson with a ski teacher named George Bailey.