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In The Loop
Posted at 05:50 PM ET, 07/19/2012

Ecuador’s embassy hires PR firm


Ecuador's President Rafael Correa. (PABLO LA ROSA - REUTERS)
Are you a foreign government with a stubborn image problem? Wondering how to spin those crackdowns on free speech or your propensity for jailing your critics?

We might have the PR firm for you!

New York-based Brown Lloyd James just picked up the Washington embassy of Ecuador as a client, to the tune of $30,000 a month, which was noted in the PR industry bible O’Dwyers.

Brown Lloyd James sounds like a good fit for the job. It has experience, after all, in repping bad-guy governments whose reputation could use more than a little spit and polish. It was Brown Lloyd James that fearlessly flacked for Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad, pitching American media stories--like the profile of Assad to Vogue magazine--even as her husband’s government was siccing its military on dissidents. It also once helped promote the regime of now-deceased Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi! The head of the Public Relations Society of America called the work for Syria and Libya “distinctly against the ethical tenets of modern public relations.”

Nevermind that--Ecuador’s Washington presence is clearly in need of that kind of glass-half-full messaging as the country faces a host of what PR folks euphemistically call “challenges.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently seeking political asylum there; it looks like the country will defy Western sanctions to buy Iranian oil; and then there’s the matter of President Rafael Correa’s heavy-handed attempts to silence his critics in the media.

Brown Lloyd James, though took pains to distinguish Ecuador from less savory nations.

“We believe in the importance of broadening relationships with countries that are recognized by official U.S. diplomacy,” the firm said in a statement to the Loop. “The US and Ecuador enjoy strong security, commercial, and cultural relations. With more than 1.5 million Ecuadorians living in America, thousands of Americans living in Ecuador, and thriving business and civil society interactions, deeper understanding is essential. We are happy to play a role in that.”

According to filings with the Justice Department, the firm plans to help Ecuador with general public relations, “particularly regarding the US-Ecuador relationship.”

Good luck with that.

By  |  05:50 PM ET, 07/19/2012

 
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