Monday, October 24, 2011

Palestinian 'Black Arts' Brand

Word is out they are going to try brand "Palestine" as this firm, Qorvis, has signed a contract and registered as a Foreign Agent for piurposes of working with the Palestinian Authority (or is it Fatah, or the PLO?):-

"One of Washington's best-known lobbying and public relations firms has been upended in the wake of the turmoil in the Middle East due in part to its representation of some of the region's autocratic governments...

"One of the methods used by Qorvis and other firms is online reputation management -- through its Geo-Political Solutions (GPS) division, the firm uses '"black arts" by creating fake blogs and websites that link back to positive content, "to make sure that no one online comes across the bad stuff," says the former insider. Other techniques include the use of social media, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter."

Update:- see LBD here on Qorvis which was also raided by the FBI for setting up a dummy organization to hammer Israel – the Alliance of Peace and Justice in the Middle East.

Already in July we had this story:

...a nation-brand is already in the making. Over the past few months, a group of influential Palestinian business leaders has been quietly working to set up a special body charged with creating a Palestinian nation-brand and promoting it around the world.

If everything goes to plan, the first campaigns will be launched later this year. The initial markets targeted are the US and, perhaps more surprisingly, Israel.

“There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about how we operate and behave, and what we believe in,” says Samir Hulileh, the chief executive of Padico, a Ramallah-based conglomerate and the biggest Palestinian company by market value. “Outside Palestine, people either see us as a primitive community and a third world country, full of gangsters and terrorists. Or they don’t have an impression at all.” [hmmmm]

Padico the final stages of setting up a new Palestinian Institute for Public Diplomacy charged with overseeing the campaign, and intend to hire an international marketing company in the coming months...

And now, these details:

...three-month, $90K contract with Qorvis involves PR, advertising, direct mail, social media as well as lobbying to opinion makers and policymakers.

From the paper work filed with the Department of Justice:

"The business community of Palestine is undertaking a branding campaign for Palestine. The goals of the campaign are to foster a better understanding of Palestine and its people and promote international trade and tourism.

Many people around the world do not have a clear understanding or picture of Palestine...The campaign is funded by the business community through the Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce. The campaign is being managed by Palestine's top public relations and advertising firm, Ellam Tam.

Ellam Tam has been at work already since last August:

PR Newswire, a global provider of electronic distribution, targeting, measurement and broadcast services for business news, and Ellam Tam, Palestine's First Strategic Communications Company, signed an agreement by which Ellam Tam will be able to represent PR Newswire services in the Palestinian Market. The agreement will come into effect starting July 1st 2010, providing the private sector in Palestine with a gateway to publish its news globally and with selected leading industry news channels.

"This agreement allows the Palestinian business community to benefit from the spread of services that PR Newswire provides in the area of electronic distribution and measurement services. Our company services thousands of corporate and government entities around the globe. We believe that our provision of PR Newswire services in Palestine is a tremendous opportunity for local enterprises, international businesses and aid agencies that are operating in Palestine to benefit from the many advantages of a professional global electronic media distribution network with an extensive network of regional and global news media," said Lisa Ashworth, CEO PR Newswire Europe. "Our services will assist different business sectors in Palestine in efficiently targeting the appropriate media outlets across the globe - be it in Industry, ICT, Tourism, Trade, Real Estate, Banking, Finance, Telecommunications and NGOs."

But you had this opinion, too:-

The Palestinians have long had a marketing problem. They do not have a slick western style campaign to get the key points of their plight across, instead relying on news organisations and charities, each with their own agenda [!!??].

The Israelis' on the other hand, from Washington to London and beyond have lobbyists, activists and use technology to great effect to get their point the world we live in, branding is important.

I hate to say this, but giving people a simple idea is the most effective way of getting a message across. Apple understands that, so does Coca-cola. You may hate the idea of a peoples' struggle being reduced to a marketing term. I know I do. But we have to be realistic.

UN status and the recognition of "Palestine" will help the cause. What will hinder it is the politics of how it happened and, what happens next.

I write this fully understanding what the bid means and why so many Palestinians are opposed to it: That many fear that too much is being given up and that not enough consultation with Palestinian groups outside of the West Bank has taken place.

...But, being able to use the name Palestine again surely has a worth? That has to be something that Palestinians can take some pride in, that whatever their politicians are up to, finally the world will recognise that they are a country and a people.

Sadly, the way this has come about means that millions of Palestinians the world over worry that Abbas's move is simply too high a price to pay for what effectively is a piece of paper with no real and substantive change.

But, as any cow can tell you, branding hurts.

If you have any ideas, contact, it seems:

Ola Sawaftah
Media Monitoring & Analysis Manager
Or email


1 comment:

Barbara said...

Interesting that they've glommed onto the contrived "Palestine" name. Is there not a biblical name that applies, that they would then claim adds historical legitimacy? Kind of like the jokes about there weren't any Palestinians prior to modern times.