PR/Media Week in Review 01-04-2009

Mark Rose, Editor, PRBlogNews, PR/Media Week in ReviewIsrael Escalates PR War. With Israel pushing deeper into Gaza, 512 Palestinians dead so far, the PR war on both sides is intensifying. The Israelis have Pres. Bush and Condoleezza Rice at the White House delivering a well-scripted, well coordinated message:  Hamas invited this incursion with its behavior, and can stop it any time by ceasing rocket attacks.

Joel Leyden, a self-professed ”Internet media, SEO, PR pioneer” is betting that it is all a matter of perception. Leyden has enlisted Facebook to fuel a worldwide propaganda buzz machine that justifies Israels massive and bloody military operation.

This is a particularly aggressive, activist PR campaign that Leyden Communications is running and it is working through social media channels. I get Twitter tweets defending Israel. There are dueling Israel – Palestinian YouTube videos.

“Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Saturday instructed the Foreign Ministry to take emergency measures to adapt Israel’s international public relations to the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip. 

Livni instructed senior ministry officials to open an aggressive and diplomatic international public relations campaign, in order to gain greater international support for Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip.” See Israel to mount emergency international PR effort in wake of Gaza campaign

Israel’s foreign ministry is skilled at this sort of high-stakes, global perception building.  British PR firm Saatchi & Saatchi helped Israel’s Foreign Ministry “free of charge” in the effort to repair its image after the state lost the Second Lebanon War.

From Reuters

“The campaign is a departure from the government’s long-held practice of ‘hasbara’, or ‘explaining’ itself to Western audiences that may have little sympathy for crackdowns on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 

Now Israel wants to create an alternative image abroad, focused exclusively on assets like tourist attractions and business innovations. In the words of one campaigner and ad executive, the aim would be to create ‘a narrative of normalcy’.”

“The blogosphere and new media are another war zone. The important thing is to get the truth out there,” Major Avital Leibovich, an Israeli army spokeswoman, said.

MORE GLOBAL/POLITICAL PR: Ukrainian infighting gives Russia the edge in public relations war, from the FT, 1/2/09

THIS WEEK’S BEST PR FOR PR: How did this happen?  Image need overhaul? Hollywood PR vet offers help is the title of the incredible Associated Press puff piece on the appropriately named uber publicist Howard Bragman.

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