For the 39th of episode of “The PR Wine Down Podcast,” Trust Relations President April Margulies and veteran PR pro Laura Schooler virtually sit down with directors Diana Neille and Richard Poplak to discuss their investigation behind Bell Pottinger’s nefarious campaign designed to inflame racial discord in South Africa.
“Influence” charts the recent advancements in “weaponized communication” by investigating the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious public relations and reputation management firm, Bell Pottinger. Using a blend of archival footage and interviews with Lord Bell and the people who worked with, for, or against him, investigative reporters-turned-filmmakers Neille and Poplak took a deep dive into the politicization of modern communication.
On the podcast, the four discuss the wide reaching relevance of this hard-hitting documentary that reveals the shocking events leading up to this multinational PR agency being thrown out of the PRCA and how they have shaped modern communications, for better and worse.
“We wanted to make a film about the disinformation complex through the personal narrative of one man who happened to be very important in that space. We wanted to speak on how it originated and where it may be going,” said Diana Neille on the podcast. “What we hoped was to discuss the belief that this feels like a new and contemporary phenomenon, but really this is an aged old propaganda that’s been newly weaponized with the use of the internet and the tools that have become such a big part of our lives.”
On May 18th, the podcast episode was released along with the film, which is available for pre-order and purchase on iTunes. In addition to audio-only syndication, the full episode is available to watch on YouTube and can be accessed worldwide.
“This is arguably the most exciting episode of ‘The PR Wine Down’ we have done to date, as the content of this film is hair-raising and thought provoking, and the candid discussion about it we had with Diana and Richard was equally riveting and inspiring,” Margulies said. “The issues these two journalists-turned-filmmakers raised in this masterpiece are among the most important topics we should be informed and think about as publicists and reputation managers, both for the future of the PR industry but also for the wellbeing of democracy today and tomorrow.”
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