What is the first thing a company does when it's in trouble?
Usually, it gets rid of some people. Sometimes it even gets rid of the boss. But a lot of times, it rolls out pricey ads showing how good it still is and will be.
Countries do the same thing.
Take Saudi Arabia, now resorting to Madison Avenue chic to prove it's a good guy after all.
Sure we have our differences, but the Saudis still love us and we should still love the Saudis.
It's slick. It's patriotic. And it almost makes you forget the fact 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Or that these guys were holding telethons for Palestinians.
No matter, the ad campaign is meant to show what maybe reality cannot.
You see it all the time. There's another all news network now all but draping itself in the flag and doing all this patriotic stuff as if it just discovered this country called the United States of America.
It's slick stuff. I just don't know if it's the right stuff.
Just because it's coming out of Madison Avenue, doesn't mean it's coming out of your heart. Because it's not what you show the world, but what you do in this world. It's not what you want be, but what you really are.
An ad campaign can imagine images. It cannot create content. Real, provable deeds do that.
Say you're a friend, then act like it.
Say you're with us, then quit attacking us.
Say you're "America's network," then act like you care about all Americans — not just the ones who share your agenda.
This isn't about valuable messages, but values themselves. You can't buy or promote that.
You have to feel that, be that and live that. Because, in the end, Americans will judge you by that.
Not by what an ad campaign says you are, but by real deeds that prove who you are.
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