COMING JUNE 2006 Click Image to See More About the Book
Introducing the Book State Department Bureaucrats Don't Want You to Read
From the Foreword, by Dr. David Demers
Many book manuscripts have passed over my desk in the last four years, but none can match this one in terms of the concerns it raises about competence in our government and news media. The evidence presented by professors Jami Fullerton and Alice Kendrick suggests that Bush Administration officials missed an opportunity to improve America's image in the Arab and Muslim worlds because they acted upon ideological and parochial prejudices rather than upon scientific evidence. More specifically, the evidence shows that:
Many U.S. Department of State bureaucrats, politicians, journalists and academics denounced the Shared Values Initiative public diplomacy campaign www.osu-tulsa.okstate.edu/sharedvalues even though they had no good scientific evidence to back up their criticism.
Some State Department bureaucrats undermined SVI through off-the-record and background interviews with journalists, whose stories often failed to accurately portray the goals of the campaign.
Some State Department bureaucrats belittled the creator of SVI—Under Secretary Charlotte Beers, a former advertising executive—simply because she was an "outsider" who had new and different ideas.
State Department bureaucrats, including Beers, created a nonprofit organization apparently for the purpose of concealing the identity of the real sponsor of the SVI television commercials, which was the State Department. Some media scholars say this act is unethical.
Many State Department bureaucrats have little knowledge about mass communication research and theories, even though they supposedly are in the business of promoting America’s image to the world.
Some State Department bureaucrats refused requests from the authors of this book for basic public information about the Shared Values Initiative. They cited the Smith-Mundt Act to defend their actions, but they have provided no good evidence to justify this position. The decision to deny access appears to be motivated by a desire to suppress information that could embarrass State Department officials.
The cynicism that these actions generate in me is tempered only by the knowledge that not all of these people or everyone else in government or in journalism is incompetent in all things all of the time. In hindsight, it appears that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell used extremely good judgment in hiring Beers and launching the "brand America" campaign. He recognized the importance of using communication science in public diplomacy. The only big mistake he made was assuming that State Department bureaucrats and U.S. ambassadors would recognize an opportunity when they saw it.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Christopher Ross and former diplomat Joe B. Johnson also demonstrated sound judgment. Their even-handed critiques of SVI, which are discussed in Chapter 4 of this book, show that each has the ability to sift wheat from chaff—a skill that presumably is a prerequisite for a competent diplomat.
Many lessons are to be learned from SVI, and Professors Fullerton and Kendrick do an outstanding job of presenting them in this book, especially in the last chapter. I only emphasize here that dogma is the greatest enemy of not only science, but of government and journalism as well. As philosopher Immanuel Kant put it: "The death of dogma is the birth of reality."
—Dr. David Demers, publisher and associate professor of mass communication
From the Back Cover
Shortly after the September 11th attacks, Charlotte Beers, a former advertising executive-turned-U.S.-State-Department-official, purchased $5 million of commercial airtime on Middle Eastern and Asian television stations.
The goal of the "Shared Values Initiative" was to convince the Muslim and Arab world that America wasn’t waging war on Islam. The Madison Avenue-produced ads depicted the happy lives of Muslims in America, including Dr. Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health (who is shown on the cover of this book shaking the hand of President George Bush in one of the spots).
Some Arab governments called the SVI ads "propaganda" and refused to run them on their state-owned television systems. Many policy makers, bureaucrats, advertising executives and journalists also denounced SVI, claiming it couldn’t work. Beers left the State Department soon after the campaign was discontinued.
In this book, advertising professors Jami Fullerton and Alice Kendrick take a dispassionate look at the controversy through internal State Department documents and interviews with Beers and other officials. The authors also present results from their own scientific studies on the effectiveness of the ads—experimental research that measured the attitudes of Muslim and other international students toward America before and after watching the commercials. To the surprise of many critics, the findings showed that students had a better impression of America after viewing the ads.
Should America use advertising to fight the war on terrorism? The authors don’t answer this question, but their book suggests that advertising should not be summarily dismissed as tool of international diplomacy.
"This book addresses the role of advertising in public diplomacy by analyzing the US State Department's Shared Values Initiative (SVI) designed to "create dialogue" with Muslim audiences worldwide. The authors are both advertising professors and clearly accept the value of using advertising techniques for conducting public diplomacy. They set out this perspective and use social science methods to argue that the ads used in the SVI campaign were indeed effective. They conclude that various bureaucratic factors and the Washington milieu contributed to the abandonment of the program and the resignation of its creator, Charlotte Beers, an advertising executive brought into government to run public diplomacy programs at the State Department. This book provides basic information on the use of advertising for political ends, which undergraduates will find easy to understand. ... Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels." -Choice magazine
"Every once in a while a book comes along that provides an ‘ah ha, so that’s what happened!’ Advertising’s War on Terrorism does that for the question of why ... the United States ... is having trouble winning hearts and minds overseas. ... [This] book should be read by every member of Congress and every State Department employee."—Dr. Richard Nelson, professor of mass communication at Louisiana State University and author of A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States
"[H]ere ... is a competent and detailed counter-argument in support of the mature, intelligent and relevant use of marketing communications in foreign policy. Few are better qualified than professors Fullerton and Kendrick..."—Simon Anholt, public diplomacy advisor to the U.K. and author of Brand America.
"Professors Fullerton and Kendrick are to be saluted for their efforts to deconstruct advertising’s potential—and limitation—in political communication. Excellent case study for students interested in the post-9/11 environment, where marketing, national image, and winning hearts and minds come together."—Dr. Nancy Snow, Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy
About the Authors
Jami Fullerton (Ph.D. University of North Texas) is an associate professor at Oklahoma State University, where she teaches advertising and mass communication research and theory. Dr. Fullerton, who is the recipient of one State Department grant and a participant in two others, often spends her summers abroad teaching and conducting research on cross-cultural communication and media globalization. The OSU College of Arts and Sciences named her an outstanding researcher in 2001.
Alice Kendrick (Ph.D. University of Tennessee) is a full professor in the Temerlin Advertising Institute at Southern Methodist University. She has published more than 30 refereed research papers, numerous industry reports, and Successful Advertising Research Methods (with Jack Haskins). She has served on the National Advertising Review Board, the American Academy of Advertising’s research committee, and the boards of the American Advertising Federation and Dallas Ad League.
Published by Marquette Academic
A Division of Marquette Books
254 pages / 6 x 9 format / 54 photographs, tables and illustrations / Copyright 2006 / Includes CIP Data / References / Index / Timeline / ISBN: 0-922993-43-2 (cloth) $54.95 / ISBN: 0-922993-44-0 (paper) $34.95