Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brand America, Meanwhile, Faces Its Own Transition

The Economist, The New York Times, Wikipedia, Sourcewatch: Times' op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote last week that an Obama victory "could change global perceptions of the United States, redefining the American 'brand' to be less about Guantánamo and more about equality."

Few observers dispute that Brand America is not as highly regarded in other countries as it has been in the past. The debate is more likely to be about how much that matters to our national interests. Kristof argues that, if Obama wins, we may have an opportunity to "rebuild American political capital in the way that the Marshall Plan did in the 1950s ... ."

The Economist is hosting a debate Sunday afternoon in New York on the subject. Advertising great Keith "You Deserve A Break Today" Rinehard, chairman emeritus of DDB Needham Worldwide, will join three other luminaries in chewing over whether Brand America can be "salvaged" and eventually "be as great as it once was."

The undersecretary position is currently held by James K. Glassman , a libertarian columnist and author. In testimony before Congress after he was nominated, Glassman brought up discussions in the press about the nature of the job before him. "People speculated on what I would do to burnish America's image, to increase our popularity ratings -- as if the United States were a brand of soft drink or an entrant in "American Idol" seeking global votes," he said. Rather, said Glassman, "public diplomacy's role is to help achieve the national interest by "informing, engaging, and influencing people around the world."

Welcome back Kotter.
Sorry for my lack of voice during my transition, but in all honesty there was really nothing exciting to write about. Not until this.

I think the time when America was a global leader in everything, has dissipated. I remember Australia would cry at losses in the America's Cup, or people would go to the US and come back with the coolest LA Gear you ever did see.
And then one day....no one gave a crap. In fact, America became that popular kid in the school yard who was so used to their "look at me"mentality that just got boring.

If Obama does win, that's great for a new era of political execution. But the problems at home need to be corrected first before the States moves on to global public perception. With the internet being a strong tool in finding out the real truth, there isn't going to be a solid way for America to cloak the unhappiness amongst citizens. Don't forget that if locals find out the government is more interested in public perception, it won't bode well either. The people's voices will be loud and clear, going straight to those who google any evidence of disappointment.

Global perception does not appear to be at the top of the agenda with all the other stuff going on. It won't be too effective either when other Western countries just don't give a damn.

In the meantime, stick to hot-shit graffiti.

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