Table of Contents:

  1. Definition
  2. Description of the Technique
  3. Risks
  4. Examples of Utilization

Definition: If I emphasize my connection with a positively perceived person, I will likely be perceived more positively as well.

Description of the Technique: This is an indirect self-presentation technique because we don’t highlight our own positive traits but rather the traits of someone else. Therefore, we expect that some of the “glow” emanating from the mentioned “star” will also illuminate us. In other words, consciously or more often unconsciously, we assume that the positive associations evoked by the mentioned individual will also be attributed to us.

This technique is commonly used in daily situations. In ordinary conversations and stories, we like to mention our connections with well-known and liked individuals. Fans of a particular team often emphasize their affiliation when the team achieves success. Similarly, successful teams attract more fans.

“Basking in reflected glory” is widely used in image and advertising campaigns. Various institutions and even administrative units such as cities and regions employ it. You have probably encountered situations where a city emphasizes its connections with well-known figures. Commemorative plaques on building facades are a clear example of this. It’s also possible to bask in the glory of fictional characters, as Warsaw demonstrated on one of its tenement buildings.

Individuals also exploit this opportunity. Recently, clothing, jewelry, and accessories featuring superhero logos have become fashionable. Wearing such emblems is nothing but the application of the described technique.

Risks: As with everything, moderation is key. Boasting about our connections excessively can be perceived as bragging.

However, the most important aspect to remember is selecting the right object whose glory we want to bask in. A poorly chosen “star” can turn out to be a “black hole” that casts a shadow on us or the brand we want to promote.

Examples of Utilization: Below are some examples of the “basking in reflected glory” technique that have gained significant media attention. I present both successful cases and those that turned out to be erroneous for various reasons.

Successful Examples:

  1. Putin and Depardieu: This technique fits perfectly for politicians to improve their image. In the attached photo, Putin demonstrates his “friendship” with the well-known and beloved Gerard Depardieu. The example is somewhat ambiguous. Certainly, a huge success for Putin. However, it may not have been as beneficial for Depardieu outside of Russia, although the actor’s participation in new films does not necessarily depend on social support (even though, as Depardieu himself described Russia, in the “Great Democracy,” not much depends on social support either).
  2. Mitt Romney and Clint Eastwood: Mitt Romney is an American politician who ran for the office of President of the USA in the 2012 elections. Clint Eastwood needs no introduction. The actor appeared at the candidate’s convention, where he gave a speech supporting Romney in the race for the presidency. It was a real “bull’s-eye” for the Republican electorate! Eastwood’s roles are usually similar: a tough guy, a firearm user (thus presumably a supporter), who strictly adheres to principles and always brings order wherever he is. This is practically the perfect set of characteristics for a conservative American voter to trust. Authority influence is also present here.
Read also: