Brought Together in Peace?

April 15, 2008 at 12:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I could have blogged about healthy lifestyles and Web 2.0 again, but anyone who visits my blog gets the point –online communities are becoming a huge factor in the health and fitness markets. Web tactics are essential to almost any campaign. So I won’t beat the dead horse this week. There’s much more interesting news. And besides, the Olympics are related to related lifestyles, right?

At the Olympic Games, Athletes are brought together in peace to respect universal moral principles, says its Web site.

But as far as I can remember, the Olympics have always been more about controversy than peaceful athletics. Unless you’ve been living under a log this April, you know that 2008 is not any different.

The Students for a Free Tibet protests have overshadowed the opportunity for China to shine as this year’s host, filing the  media with stories of extreme protest.

An article in yesterday’s New York Times  breaks down who is using PR to its full advantage–and it’s not China. Instead, China is headed into a serious PR crisis. Or as John Bagratuni of the Bangkok Post put it “A PR disaster of Olympic proportion.”

The Times article says:

“The Tibet groups, though, have courted the media. ‘The approach these groups have is spectacular in terms of public relations,’ said Richard Funess, president of Ruder Finn Americas, a public relations firm. While China has not mastered the art of the grass-roots publicity campaign, its government — with the Olympics in mind — has been exploring American-style public relations approaches.”

Exploring? I think it’s probaly a little late in the game to be exploring public relations approaches for an event so notoriously controversial.  And now, the world has a negative opinion about the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, months before the games start.

How did the student groups pull this off?

Training, planning and communication

Every other month, the protesting groups have been meeting for media training sessions. Four times a year they have “action camps,” where they learn to organize protests and deal with police. They also train in guerilla street theatre. Events such as last week’s highly publicized Golden Gate incident has been in the works for a long time.

But, I didn’t write this post to get deeply involved in the human rights issue at hand.

 Students are overshadowing a government here. Whether it’s keeping the peace or causing the unrest, this PR stuff — it’s pretty powerful.

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