Can Asma Assad Ignore This Video?

asma assad33 300x168 Can Asma Assad Ignore This Video?

The PR Verdict: “C” for style and content which never really differentiated itself from what's already out there.

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?

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Has Asma Assad Handed The Rebels A Gift?

asmaassad Has Asma Assad Handed The Rebels A Gift?

The PR Verdict: “A” for the rebels releasing Asma's emails.

The Syrian uprising has come up with a new PR weapon.  The Guardian has released a treasure trove of over 3,000 emails between President Assad, his wife  Asma, and their court cronies.  The emails show Syria’s ruling couple wildly out of touch and oddly untroubled as their country implodes.

Of particular interest is Asma Assad’s correspondence with decorators and jewellers in France and Switzerland, written while her husband continues ordering the destruction of rebel stronghold Homs.  Giving new meaning to the term “fiddling while Rome burns”,  Asma Assad is documented ordering high-priced shoes, accessories and furniture from Europe.  “I am still hoping you can send me a sample for the dark wood alternative” she requested of one French furniture supplier, four months into the uprising.

Asma Assad, who American Vogue previously named the “rose in the desert” is now guaranteed a place in the history books for all the wrong reasons.

The PR Verdict: “A” for the Syrian rebels who released Asma’s emails.   For a news cycle that was tiring of images of military devastation, this puts the issue back in the headlines and reignites the pressure to remove a dictator.

Fashion’s former darling of the Middle East has just become the byword for a corrupt and  an out-of-touch system.  History is littered with spouses who become symbols for their husband’s excesses, embodying greed, reckless indifference and a lightning rod for gross mismanagement.  Following in the tradition of Marie Antoinette, Imelda Marcos and Elena Ceaușescu, Asma Assad is set to join the club of women who history does not remember fondly and in turn, has become a great PR weapon for the regime’s opponents.

To see pictures of Asma’s spending spree click here . To read more about the emails click here

What’s your PR verdict? Does this help the rebels?

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