Communicators Craft Multiple Messaging for Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling


The Supreme Court's long-awaited decision on the constitutionality of President Obama's Affordable Care Act—now set to come down on Thursday, June 28—has stakeholders (including Congress, health care lobbyists, campaign officials and lawyers) scrambling to ready themselves for the ruling. Much of this scrambling is being done by communicators, who have crafted multiple messages in preparation of the decision—messages that cover both negative and positive outcomes, depending on which side of the decision they are on.

"Communicators have been preparing for this for the last six months," says Derek Lavalle, Kemp Gold & Partners. Think of the scurrying about in the White House, says Lavalle, as the team working with AARP drafts its responses to the ruling, while the team covering the Hispanic community is drafting their responses. "Both groups have to sync those messages up with the overarching message of the White House," says Lavalle. This strategy not only works for court and regulatory rulings, but for crisis preparation as well (look for more on crafting multiple messages in the 7/2/2012 issue of PR News).

But there's always someone who upsets the apple cart: Politico reported that Indiana Treasurer and GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock uploaded a video on YouTube that applauded the Supreme Court's decision invalidating the Affordable Care Act. Politico said they took that video off the social network, but then uploaded three more videos with three other scenarios: One if the court ruled Obamacare constitutional; another if the court struck down parts of Obamacare; and one for a "no decision" by the court.

That's an "A" for preparation, "F" for execution.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.



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