Assad regime not quite so in Vogue now eh?

Jun 13 • Celebrity, General business, Politics, PR Agencies, PR Tips & Tricks • 1095 Views • No Comments on Assad regime not quite so in Vogue now eh?

Assad – not quite so in vogue now

NB – credit to the Independent’s Richard Hall for the analysis and article below (in italics).

I have written on this subject before, just where do you the draw the line when it comes to ethics in business? Could you work for an oil firm, a major bank, a “corrupt” regime? Whatever your politics, morals and ethics it is different for everyone.

The previous blog was sparked by a PR support request by none other than Colonel Gaddafi (not directly asking for me by the way) and explained that I just couldn’t consider it, whatver the money. Now, a similar situation has reared its rather ugly head, this time in Syria with the Assad regime.

Richard Hall’s article begins…

At the very least, it was a case of unfortunate timing.

Vogue magazine invited ridicule and condemnation last year when it printed a glowing profile of the Syrian First Lady in the same month that a violent crackdown on protests in the country began. But the 3,200 fawning words on Bashar al-Assad’s wife, Asma, was just one part of a public relations campaign carried out by Western firms to burnish a friendlier image of the Assad family – the extent of which is still coming to light.

It was later revealed that international PR firm Brown Lloyd James agreed a $5,000-per-month contract in November 2010 to help with the photo shoot and interview, which described the British-born Mrs Assad as the “freshest and most magnetic of first ladies”.

The Vogue interview, headlined “A Rose in the Desert”, was arguably the high point of a public relations blitz designed to make the Assad family appear progressive and accessible. 

But the campaign began years earlier, in 2006, with the hiring of UK-based Bell Pottinger. The firm was employed by Mrs Assad to set up a communications office for herself. “Laura Bush had started the first ladies club and she wanted a role in that,” said Lord Bell, co-founder of the firm.

Bell Pottinger spent six months setting up the press office before their business together ended.

A few years later, with her press team in full swing, more positive articles appeared about Mrs Assad. Paris Match called her an “element of light in a country full of shadow zones,” and French Elle counted her among the best-dressed women in world politics.

Now, after an estimated 10,000 deaths in Syria, the positive press has run dry. Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour publicly disowned Mrs Assad this weekend.

Richard Hall’s article ends…

So, what about you? Is it all about the money when it comes to business? Or are there some things you just won’t touch?

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