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Inside Job

PR Powerhouse Liza Anderson on Best Practices for Actors

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PR Powerhouse Liza Anderson on Best Practices for Actors
Photo Source: Angelo Kritikos

After getting her toes wet in the PR world at BWR, and with the legendary Warren Cowan, one of Hollywood’s top celebrity publicists, Liza Anderson decided to branch off and create her own firm in 2008. Head of Anderson Group Public Relations, her company represents the likes of Eva Longoria, Jerry Ferrara, and Rebecca Da Costa, as well as other major film and television stars, athletes, clothing companies, and experts.

What's the best wat to market and actor?
At Anderson Group, we’re very team-oriented. There was a time when an actor could hire one person and they’d get an account exec to do all of their PR—that paradigm doesn’t work anymore; some still use it but it’s just not an effective way to give an actor the best publicity anymore. There’s so much to do, and things happen so quickly with social media and TV shows; media goes internationally so quickly now, you don’t have to wait for 100 episodes anymore.

What's your advice for actors looking to publicize themselves?
Never let anyone take nude pictures of you, she says jokingly, no matter who they are, what they say.... There’s a difference between an actor and a celebrity. It’s just the age-old, “Do you want to be taken seriously?” You want to win an Academy Award or an Emmy, going out of the gate with a nude picture is not necessarily the best way to do it.

What should people look for in a publicist?
Publicists and clients really need to get along; it’s like dating: You pretty much know in the first 20 minutes of dinner with somebody—after you’ve had drinks. No. 2, you have to look at their work ethic. And No. 3, you have to look at their integrity and honesty; just the way they talk about what they’re going to do in their pitch meeting, the tactics they say they’re going to use, and how they talk about their clients. 

What’s your advice for dealing with bad press?
Have a good publicist. Make sure you’re very honest with your publicist. You have to be honest with the media, too. I’m a firm believer in “honesty is the best policy,” and then based on your relationship with your client and the media, you can work from there. There’s always a way to put a positive spin, but it has to be based on relationships, because once you start playing with the facts and not dealing with people in a positive and straightforward manner, then your reputation becomes tarnished and once that happens there’s no going back.

How can actors better utilize social media?
You should look at the people that do use it strategically and follow their paradigm. Sometimes talking too much can be somewhat unattractive, revealing too much, too much information. I think using it to attract your fans and making them feel like they're a part of your life is a wonderful thing; using it for philanthropic things is a brilliant thing—it depends on the type of celebrity and the type of actor you are, what you’re trying to achieve and what your brand is. [Social media] should not be abused and people have a tendency to do that.

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