THE BIG PITCH: Is Colonel Gadhafi’s image beyond repair, and would you take him as a client?

ANGELA HARRINGTON, Harrington Communications, Springfield, NJ.

ANGELA HARRINGTON, Harrington Communications, Springfield, NJ.

ANGELA HARRINGTON, Harrington Communications, Springfield, NJ.

If Yasir Arafat can change his image, why not Moammar Gadhafi? The

Libyan leader has already improved his international profile by handing

over the Pan Am bombing suspects, and he has renewed relations with the

European community. Furthermore, the United Nations has suspended its

sanctions against Libya and Gadhafi. The time is right to work with him

First, I would urge him to take a leadership role in UN-sponsored health

and educational efforts for developing nations. I’d also promote

cultural exchanges between Libya and the US. An American presence in

Libya would defuse terrorism and American oil companies would benefit by

competing on a level playing field with their European counterparts.

PHILLIPE RUSKIN, Teuwen One Image, New York

Since we specialize in food, beverage and travel clients, I would

encourage him to create a chain of theme restaurants, perhaps Moammar’s

Cafe: A Family Adventure. This would go a long way towards softening his

image, and we could have some fun with menu items such as Terror-misu.

An offering like Chocolate Bombs would take on a whole new meaning, and

spices whose ’flavor explodes on your taste buds’ would be a natural

fit. For tourism, we could start a bus tour in the desert, with

training-camp exercises for blase executives and journalists. Customer

satisfaction would be pretty much guaranteed - after all, who’s going to


KEN SLAVIN, The Atkins Agency, San Antonio, TX

Unquestionably, Gadhafi’s image is horrendous. Could it be


Probably. Nothing surprises me in this era of vapid soundbites and short

memories. For most, Gadhafi still defines an era of international

terrorism, mass murder and political oppression that no amount of PR

strategy could (or should) erase. My agency wouldn’t even consider the

assignment, no matter how large the fee or how challenging the work. But

some savvy PR practitioners out there would take on such a task.

Consider the brilliant, heartless minds behind the Nazi propaganda of

World War II. They took PR to an all-time evil pinnacle, legitimizing a

madman and his horrifying agenda and elevating him to near sainthood in

his own lifetime. But just because something can be done doesn’t mean it

should be.

JERRY BROWN, Walls Communications, Washington, DC

I don’t think I would take Moammar Gadhafi as a client. There are too

many unknowns about the role he has played in promoting terrorism

throughout the world. But his image is not beyond improving, even though

it would be a huge challenge, especially given his many detractors in

the Western and Arab worlds. Certainly, there are people in the Western

world who, for reasons of personal or business gain, would be quite

willing to help Gadhafi improve his image - especially now that the

price of oil is on the rise.

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