We live in an odd time when governments have to hire advertisement agencies to bolster their image to other nations, perhaps I am naive, but that just feels like a snake oil salesman is giving me his spiel. In an article on Foxnews.com entitled "Image Makers Weigh in on Improving USA's Perception Overseas", it states that if the USA wants to improve it's image overseas then it would be wise to downplay our politics and act like we're listening. I don't know why this surprised me; it's evident that our own government isn't listening to the people after Wednesday night's announcement to send more soldiers to war, despite the election in November and the polls showing again and again that we are tired of this war and confused as to why we are there in the first place. Astounding to me, the lead-in to this article seems to imply that the actual listening is not important; we should only pretend to listen and do what we want anyway. Kudos to the honesty about the deception, am I the only one that feels like a stranger dropped in a strange land?
It seems that on Wednesday, Rice held a Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy sponsored by the State Department and the Public Relations Coalition, with State Department officials and 150 top public relations professionals in attendance. Their mission is quoted as "to identify clear action steps the private sector can take to support U.S. public diplomacy."
So, we are asking advertising professionals to create an image for the world to see, instead of actually improving what ails us and then we wonder why America is not liked on the global stage. We are appealing to PR savvy to manage human beings; because we can not forget those nations are full of individuals with hopes, dreams and families, just like our own. We don't believe every advertisement we see, I'm know I'm not going to lose 10 pounds in a week unless I am very sick or I won't develop ripped abs in a month no matter how hard I try, but we, as a nation, are seeking to project such shallow images on the world stage? And are we giving the disclaimer at the end? Is a created image better than the truth of what we really are or just easier to sell?
I wonder what our jingle will be? Will an American Idol sing it? Will Ford or Chevrolet get product placement rights? Will FOX air a new show, "America's Commercial", where we can call and vote for our favorites?
It's no wonder that there is a growing disconnect between America, her people and other nations. When we begin asking the advice of those who are attempting to sell us a thousand products we do not need, when we begin looking at America as a brand name, with all the marketing that that implies, we are losing the connection with the people and isn't it the people that make our country great?
Love and Light