Along with fretting over the BP oil spill, watch how Mexico attempts to counter its ghastly "drug wars" image. We may be at the limits of public relations in both instances. We're rooting for the success of officials attempting to handle both these dire situations, but it's a tough go. The public will take some convincing, indeed, that gains are being made.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon gave a televised address on the drug situation to his nation this week. He announced that Mexico's tourism ministry will be conducting a global public relations campaign to improve its image and counter the drug battles that are scaring off tourists and foreign investors. President Calderon announced, Reuters reports, that "we are hiring the best agencies in the world (to) promote Mexico's image," but didn't provide any details, including the campaign's anticipated costs.
At the same time, Reuters notes, drug violence continued seemingly unabated and "public opinion polls say the majority of Mexicans think the drug traffickers are winning the drug war."
President Calderon says the drug cartels are increasingly fighting among themselves, but the Reuters story gives searing examples of why Mexico hasn't been an especially welcoming scene for some time now. More than 23,000 people have died in drug violence there over the past 3-1/2 years.
Just as the U.S. National Guard is assisting in the BP cleanup effort, Mexico's police and army will have key roles in a PR campaign that we hope will be effective, but may be at the boundaries of what's possible in relational terms.
– Photo by Eduardo Verdugo - AP
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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