Charlotte Beers, a former advertising executive who was once nicknamed "the most powerful woman in advertising," served as U.S. Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and was the driving force behind the creation of the State Department's Shared Values campaign, which attempts to counteract growing anti-American sentiment in Arab countries.
An advertising executive, Beers built her reputation in the private sector, marketing Uncle Ben's rice before going to work for some of the world's leading ad agencies including J. Walter Thompson, Tatham-Lair & Kudner and Ogilvy & Mather. She joined the State Department in October 2001, following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Under her supervision, the U.S. State Department produced videos, pamphlets, booklets and other materials, including an advertising campaign intended for broadcast in Muslim countries depicting religious tolerance and thriving Muslims in the United States. However, several Arab nations refused to run the TV ads, and they were discontinued after a focus group in Jordan said the ads left them cold.
On March 3, 2003 Beers unexpectedly announced her resignation from the State Department, citing unspecified "health reasons." Most public relations professionals who posted comments at the O'Dwyer's PR web site celebrated her departure, saying "Good riddance!" and "About time! She was horrible and the U.S. has lost all post-9/11 support."
"The invasion of Iraq hasn't begun, but the U.S. marketing machine has been going strong. Led by Madison Avenue eminence Charlotte Beers, the State Department's Office for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is in the midst of the challenging mission of improving America's image in the Middle East. Beers has four decades of experience on Madison Avenue, including stints running giants Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson." From Business2.0 October 10, 2002.
- Emeriti Trustee, National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy 
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Steven Weisman, "Powell Aide Quits Position Promoting U.S.," New York Times, March 4, 2003.
- Anwar Iqbal, "U.S. Image Adviser Quits at State," Washington Times, March 4, 2003.
- Jennifer L. Buckendorff, "War is peace! , " Salon.com, September 29, 2003.
- "Selling America," NPR's On the Media, March 26, 2004. Bob Garfield interviews Beers on U.S. public diplomacy efforts.