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Monday, December 04, 2006

Perception, Madison Avenue Public Relations & Israel

As one who runs a few blogs, I work hard at times making sure that the Blog entries in each blog are up to date and give out information. Each Blog is different; each blog demands its own space; and its own niche. Don't get me wrong. Each one of the Blogs that I tenderly nurture, day by day becomes more popular with more reads and back-links and responses. It is part of the Public Relations coupled with careful implementation of the rules of SEO and technology. It is my own PR.

This is one of those posts, where I will truthfully say, I pray someone who can do something will read and come across and think about.

For many years as one who originally comes from New York and watched the events in Israel unfold, and the press go from bad to worse, until there is just no explaining logically the image of Israel that is presented in the world at large - for many years I have been saying:

"For goodness sake. Someone in the government should fire every one of those idiots in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and take the millions of dollars saved and hire the best and brightest Madison Avenue Public Relations firm Israel can afford."

The world today is not about fact. It is not about reality. And it certainly is not about truth. It is all about perception. How we perceive things to be.

And our perception in this modern day is determined by the way these things are presented to us in the media. The media is in essence the Public Relations. It too feeds on a frenzy of pictures, gore, stupidity and truth. It paints a picture, never totally objective, as the people who report the news view things through human eyes. They interpret what they see within their own framework of understanding and comprehension. There is nothing wrong with this. This is being human.

But what determines those initial "perceptions" on any given situation is certainly the result of the way Public Relations and Media ingrain themselves in the psyche.

Israel, with all its incredible high-tech ability, with all the brain power, with all its achievements, is so damn stupefyingly dumb-assed and downright imbecilic when it comes to presenting its view and opinions before the court of world opinion. Israel in the realm of PR is one dumb jackass, making even some of our most inept politicians look smart. And folks that is a difficult thing to do.

In the Jerusalem Post an editorial appeared called: Branding Israel. And this is what brought up the subject of this post. The article states and I quote just a few choice lines:

"Like corporate products, nations too can be regarded as brand-names and their standing in the international marketplace evaluated according to a wide range of criteria...

We are continually appalled by inimical media coverage of our existential struggle for survival. We hear all too frequently of campaigns to blacklist Israeli products. We know that anti-Semitism is dangerously and frighteningly on the rise worldwide and we realize that its rampant manifestations cannot but impact on the way the Jewish state is perceived....

Unfortunately, some in government have long regarded the battle against vilification as a priori lost and therefore as something to dismiss or downplay. It too often seems as though Israel no longer really tries too earnestly to facelift its image...."
It is obviously not going to be a government reaction. Nor should it be. Our governments change too swiftly, with too many differing goals and objectives. Olmert is certainly no where near intelligent enough to run a PR campaign, and Peretz would just find a way to run away from the responsibility.

Israel needs a Madison Avenue Public Relations firm. (And for those of you used to my somewhat cynical humor - I am deadly serious here.) We need to invest in our future and in the perceptions that the world has about us. We are up against some of the richest countries in the world. And money buys perception. Enough money buys people. Well Israel does not have oil nor endless reserves of cash. What it does have is brains.

And if we do have brains we should know the first rule of intelligent people: "Never be afraid to say, I don't know."

Admit it. Israel has failed miserably in the war of perception. We just don't know how to do it. But Madison Avenue can sell any damn thing it puts its collective mind to. And there are certainly enough people in Public Relations and Advertising today that also empathize with Israel.

So Let Israel Go To Madison Avenue. Let us Announce:
"We are not looking for deals. We will pay top dollar to the firm that can change our perception on the World Arena."

Sound too simplistic? Too idealistic? Too hopeful?
You bet it is. And one damn thing is sure:

If we keep on going like this too much longer, not all the PR firms on Madison Avenue will be able to help us.

Posted On: The View From Jerusalem

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