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The State Department Advertising? Finally!
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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It's all about the message.

The West, with America in particular, has had some tough times trying to connect with our friends in the Middle East. With this stupid Anti-Muslim film no exception, the U.S. State Department has repeatedly failed to establish a common ground of communication.

Quite simply, our grounds are not common.

The U.S. is the land of free speech, and unless the government has a reason to know what people are saying, many things can be published, produced, and distributed before the government catches wind. Born-and-bred U.S. citizens have not experienced a system any different. To have an autocratic government that censors communication and limits access to the web would sound crazy to us, but it is life to many citizens in the Middle East. They also see a lot of information coming straight from the government. That is why it was so easy for the outspoken extremists to rev up rage and protests against the West and the U.S., because government-sanctioned communication is commonplace.

That's why is was incredibly important for the State Department to create an ad denouncing it.

The ad that started running on Pakistani television is below. According to Business Recorder, the ad cost about $70,000 and was created by the Embassy in Islamabad (Pakistani capital).  The subtitles are in Urdu, which is the main Pakistani language.

Will this be effective? Hard to say. Of course, the ones searching for outrage will ignore the actual videos from the U.S. State Department. But at least the State Department is tackling the problem. The problem is that the people believe all the communication originating in the West is from the government. So, the government finally needs to produce content stating what it actually believes. Advertising is a big part of national identity, and the United States, if they know what they are doing, will keep up the media presence until the U.S. brand is (somewhat) repaired.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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