NEW YORK: The Israeli government is developing a branding campaign that will use traditional and "new" media outreach to the US and Europe to put a "human face" on a country generally associated with war.
David Saranga, the counsel for media and public affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York, said the government is consulting with various PR and advertising agencies in Israel to determine the exact focus of the outreach, but said that in general two key groups the government wants to reach are "liberals" and people aged 16 to 30.
To reach those groups, the campaign could, for example, focus on the strong status of women's or gay rights in Israel, compared with other countries, Saranga said.
"Unfortunately there are 400 foreign correspondents in Jerusalem writing about the conflict with Lebanon," he added. "Every media outlet has the right to cover what they want, but at the same time we would like them to cover other things in Israel."
The government is already meeting with high school groups in Israel to encourage participation in a new government-sponsored blog, www.isrealli.org, which is intended to facilitate free-spirited discussions between Israeli citizens and people from other countries, including posting of multimedia.
In addition, the government next year plans to arrange junkets to as many as 15 different groups of US journalists covering sectors such as fashion or food, and will also host a blogging seminar tied to Jerusalem's annual gay parade.
To make Israeli diplomats as adept as possible at appealing to a multitude of media outlets, the Israeli Consulate and the American Jewish Congress, with the assistance of 5W Public Relations, are hosting a media training seminars the week of December 18. The training includes on-camera interview simulations, advice on developing "messages," and speeches by various media and PR experts.