What was Asma Assad’s reaction when she looked at her inbox yesterday? The wife of the notorious Syrian dictator has been sent an open letter in the form of a video, by the spouses of the German and British ambassadors to the UN. The video urges Syria’s first lady to help end the bloodshed in her country.
The four-minute clip has been disseminated to news sites globally. Contrasting the images of dead and injured children with photos of Asma looking chic and modernising, it urges her to speak out on behalf of all mothers. “Stop being a bystander” the video implores and “take action!”
Huberta von Voss Wittig and Sheila Lyall Grant, the two spouses in question, say the video was made on their own initiative. But strangely they are nowhere in the video. Infact the clip could have been made by anyone, with nothing about it to indicate it’s theirs. Suddenly their conviction seems lukewarm, laying themselves open to accusations that they have been cajoled into lending their name only.
The PR Verdict: “C” for style and content which never really differentiated itself from what’s already out there. Good intentions no doubt, but the urgency of the issue needed a stronger and more distinctive voice.
PR Takeaway: Use differences to make a difference. What gave this video global attention was who produced it. So why not take a stand in the video directly? Make the demands yourselves and even better, ask a couple of prominent Arab women to join. This clip needed to look different from any other campaigning organisation’s efforts. Answer? Make it intensely personal and in so doing, almost impossible for Asma to turn the other cheek.
To see the video and to read more click here.
What’s your PRV on this?