As many of you know, great PR will create a great reputation and great public image. There is one PR campaign however which really stands out above all others and has undoubtedly captured the imaginations of people from all around the world. At times his bravado and outrageous comments have stirred excitement and anticipation; at other times however, his circus has insulted, embarrassed and even angered many people, leaving us feeling a little weary. Either way, it has worked.
He is Conor McGregor: Dubliner, rock star, world champion fighter and the greatest walking, talking PR showman ever. Not to mention every 14 year old boys absolute idol. The former apprentice plumber from Dublin has rapidly become Ireland’s ‘Notorious’, and all through the power of his own publicity. Like him or loath him he is the ultimate PR champion.
In 2007 Conor McGregor quit his apprentice plumbing job and had signed on to collect benefits so he could train with MMA coach, John Kavanagh. He quickly made a name for himself as an MMA cage fighter but in 2013 he received the call from the UFC. The rest quite simply is lucrative history.
He puts himself into headlines, he doesn’t just talk; he proclaims wild, bizarre and often insane pronouncements that simply cannot be ignored (a bit like Donald Trump, but maybe not as bad). Take the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight of 2017; Mayweather was favourite to win, he was undefeated in the boxing ring and is arguably the world’s greatest ever boxer. This however did not stop the ostentatious McGregor who had never boxed professionally in his life, “I’m gonna f**k this boy up. Make no mistake.” He remained so confident in his ability, “Tell Floyd and Showtime, I’m coming. … I want $100 million cash to fight him under boxing rules because he’s afraid of a real fight.” At this, every Irish lad quit their job, booked the flights and swiftly made their way to the bright lights of Vegas – seriously.
While UFC or boxing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, or indeed the insults traded, through relentless and intense publicity, Conor McGregor has grabbed the attention of the world and made headlines. The public had a thirst for the spectacle that these two mega-personalities were creating each week as the so called, ‘biggest fight of the century’ grew closer. In the end, the luck of the Irish may not have been on McGregor’s side but yet, he was a triumph for PR.
He is Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor. Arguably Ireland’s biggest sporting star and despite his entertaining bravado, a very much respected sportsman. Conor McGregor represents every working-class lad (or lass) from Ireland who wants to take a chance; the class which Conor McGregor personifies is real and current. They too get up early and work hard, they compete with immigrants in the job, housing and health sectors, their wages are stagnating due to the economy and competition from abroad, yet they get on with it, they work for themselves and remain ambitious, much like McGregor. They get out there like he did and do it themselves. In Conor McGregor, the Irish see a hero. Through mastering his craft, achieving success in PR and becoming ‘The Notorious’, McGregor is a self-made, successful and respected sportsman who never hid his ambition. He is a representative of Ireland and what many Irish people stand for today.
Lauren Hill is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-hill-a7807a151/