WASHINGTON: The State Department announced it was scrapping a series of TV ads designed to reverse anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries last week in favor of more traditional diplomatic PR efforts.
The ads, running since October, featured Muslim Americans claiming US acceptance of their religion and lifestyle. But several nations refused to air them, and many in the diplomatic community had derided them as a poor Madison Avenue solution to a complex and somber problem.
Charlotte Beers, director of public diplomacy for the Bush Administration and former ad maven, had touted the spots as the centerpiece of her drive to ease anti-US sentiment abroad. She has refused comment on the demise of the $15 million project, and there are those in DC who see her fate indelibly tied to the now-defunct campaign.
Wes Pedersen, Public Affairs Council director and a US diplomacy veteran, said, "The State Department has long pushed the PR-beats-ads line. I'd be surprised if her resignation wasn't on Colin Powell's desk" already.