I read an interesting article in Ad Age with the same headline. The writer shares the dilemma between a country in desperate need of positive PR and potentially gaining a negative reputation from the job. In the end, the article states Fleishman-Hillard did not accept Libya as a client due to an uncertain commitment by those in leadership … which got me thinking.
In a separate matter, Ogilvy did accept Mexico as a client at the beginning of 2012 after consistent U.S. national news coverage of serious drug violence in the country. Mexico realized negative national coverage was hindering tourism and needed help to disseminate their message.
“We’re reaching out to leader media outlets like Bloomberg, Newsweek and CNN to help us tell our side of the story and get the facts straight,” Gerardo Llanes, CMO, Mexico Tourism Board said. “We’re not denying that there are some areas of the country that have problems, but we’re saying if you hear about something bad in Chicago, it wouldn’t stop you from going to Los Angeles.”
Good analogy, but is it enough? I personally declined an offer to go to Mexico at the beginning of the year due to negative media coverage. However, my opinion may not be widely shared. By July 24, 2012, tourism to Mexico continued to increase. One area even thrived as a vacation hot spot for fashion insiders in January. Still, the country fights isolated events of violence and a recent U.S. warning to avoid a popular tourist spot. Phenomenal PR does not make the core issue disappear. How then, does the PR firm get ahead?