Saudi Arabia recruits Edelman to help transform global perception

Edelman’s proposal aims to use celebrity partnerships and major productions to revamp the country’s public image and reputation.

Stock image of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh: The Saudi government wants to change its perception around the world. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

CHICAGO: Edelman has partnered with Saudi Arabia to help better market the kingdom as a tourism and culture destination, Politico reported this week.

Edelman created a proposal, the Search Beyond campaign, which it described in filings with the Department of Justice in June. The five-year-long campaign would primarily target the U.S. market, as well France, Germany, the Middle East and the U.K.

The pitch suggested striking partnerships with celebrities and pursuing opportunities that could lead to major productions being filmed in Saudi Arabia. 

Edelman is being paid around $787,000 a year, according to Politico, and will prioritize research, planning and strategy, media relations and strategic partnerships, social media plan development and outreach and client management and reporting.

An Edelman spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The proposal comes as Saudi Arabia attempts to sway negative public perception of the kingdom, fueled largely by the 2018 murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi. The U.S. intelligence community has said Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed off on Khashoggi’s murder

The LIV Golf Invitational Series, funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, recently kicked off its inaugural event. Fleischer Communications is working on the series as a comms consultant. 

Edelman grew 15.4% globally on a constant currency basis to $985 million last year, with the U.S. up 15.5% to $613.1 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2022.


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