Sunday, July 13, 2008

OneVoice: Good intention, bad approach

A couple of days ago, a video titled "Israel & Palestine to co-host World Cup in 2018?", posted by an organization called OneVoice, was featured on Youtube's main page. The organization advocates for the creation of an independent Palestinian State, mutual recognition for both Israel and Palestine, and peace. I am convinced that their cause is very noble and their intentions are good, but the way in which they are trying to reach people with their message is just lousy.Click on the video to watch (or click here if the video below doesn't work).

As you can see, the video claims that Israel and Palestine are joint official candidates to host the 2018 World Cup. I don't know whether this claim is true, but I would have serious doubts about it, considering the following points:

  1. The ad looks more like a joke: Players are playing the match over a clay field instead of a grass pitch, the wall lies just inside the field (is the point that Israel and Palestine will co-host a World Cup, or rather to emphasize their differences?), and the overall lack of any professional equipment and features in place (a stadium, goals and nets, etc) makes the spot lose all seriousness.
  2. Security issues: As long as there are armed terrorist organizations like Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs and Hezbolla present in the region, the threat of terrorism is latent. Once said that, would Israel open its borders with Palestine to co-host a World Cup, and to allow the free transit of people (which may include Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs) through its territory? Unlikely.
  3. Infrastructure: Let's face it. An event of the nature of a soccer world cup requires high investments in infrastructure, which lacks especially on the Palestinian side. It is indeed possible to build nice stadiums, hotels, transportation systems, etc, when peace is reached (i.e. when terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas are disbanded). But would these investments be priorities to the Palestinian authorities in the near future? Why not building hospitals, schools, and homes first?
  4. Time constraints: Organizing world sports events, such as Olympic games and soccer world cups, is not an overnight task. Normally, the organization of these type of events take about 7 years, which would mean that, by 2011, the preparation for this event should get started. That is only 3 years from now; is it that both sides can take the fast track to peace and start working on the world cup preparation on time?
Unfortunately, this video is not much better than other materials that they've posted in Youtube. Here's another example; in this spot a supposed Saudi prince visits Tel Aviv. But the whole thing looks extremely fake, and at some points it turns hilarious (Click here if the video below doesn't work).

I believe that OneVoice's ideal is essentially good. Their will to achieve peace in the region is a noble cause and they are looking for ways to promote such cause, to reach people with their message. What I find absurd is the choice of marketing tools they are using: Rather than making them look as a NGO (non-governmental organization) committed to seeking peace in the region (which is what they are), their ads makes them appear as a NGO that is looking to promote peace through the side of humor. That's an error. I applaud their idea and their core message, but if I were them, I would be seeking for a new marketing communications person to produce these promotion materials.


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