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Soft power as Celebrity diplomacy

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Audrey Mélon

on 19 November 2013

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Transcript of Soft power as Celebrity diplomacy

Important Concepts
Public Diplomacy Council: there are three core missions
How can America promote its culture&policies to affect the biggest audience possible?

Soft power is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion or payments.” it “can be cultivated through relations with allies, economic assistance, and cultural exchanges.” And “arises from the attractiveness of a country’s culture, political ideals, and policies.” The result would be “a more favourable public opinion and credibility abroad.”
Mr.Nye "Bound to Lead" 1990
more than
celebrity branding

it can help capture the public's attention for a political topic or a charity for example

celebrity diplomacy
” Andrew cooper

Celebrities who lend their fame by devoting themselves to helping others
Brings awareness to a massive audience and allows a bigger involvement
Stars can boost the image of a social cause and elevate public discussion.

Celebrities can eclipse the charity or even the cause being defended.

A.Cooper said about Diana when she was in Angola : "she got so much attention instead of the non-governmental organizations who had been doing the front-line work"
Celebrities are not always experts
For example, according to an article published by The IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Network) after Christina Aguilera, the Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme, went to Rwanda the word "war-torn" appeared in one of her interviews whilst describing the rapidly-developing country
Celebrities behaviors can discredit good causes
When Lance Armstrong admitted to having taken performance-enhancing drugs, his charity Livestrong had to distance itself from him in order to continue its work
"Wyclef Jean a pop star from Haiti, got involved in the earthquake relief efforts. He announced his candidacy for president of Haiti in August 2010, but reports came out showing that funds from his charity, Yele Haiti, were used for personal reasons." according to the smoking gun website
Obama & Celebrity Diplomacy
Obama & the media
"Globalization" of communication :
Media is constantly evolving to reach new standards of communication, and Obama knows how to use them.

In the eyes of the public :
Diplomat or Celebrity?
Obama & the Celebrities
Public Diplomacy Soft Power Celebrity Diplomacy
Angelina Jolie
She is the UNICEF Refugee Agency ambassador

-Support for education in Bosnia
-Donates hundreds of thousands of dollars

“He has not only captured the
public's attention, but his
highly organized approach has also helped him gain entrance to the company of world leaders and policy-makers.” (Andrew Cooper)

“Bono uses his charm and persuasive manner …he payed great attention on how to play the diplomatic game, using his considerable skill of voice to great advantage” (cooper p8)
Big power of persuasion
Stars can help improve a politician's image, by being seen with them during an electoral campaign.


Celebrities are only considered as diplomats if :
-They are believable and have good arguments
-They embrace the idea of an “ambassador”
-They prove that they're not doing this for selfish reasons (good for their image)
-The goals remain consistent & enthusiastic
-The cause is about global issues
Andrew Cooper
Famous Examples
The examples of Angelina Jolie & Bono shows that celebrity diplomacy can be effective, but it can be difficult for a celebrity to create interest in an issue if interest is not already there.
Although it has not been proven that celebrity diplomacy on its own can move a lot of people for political action or social change, it is without a doubt a powerful force that helps to bring issues to the forefront of public debate

what makes celebrities appealing, is that they are not really the experts, they are like ordinary people
” (Professor Andrew F. Cooper)
People follow celebrities more because they are not from the traditional elite of experts , they feel, in a way, related to them .

"The questions about chili and iPods, for example, come from ... a radio show in an Albequerque, which also wanted to get his opinion on Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit single “Call Me Maybe.”"
the emergence of a new kind of president, the
Celebrity in Chief
, who’s more comfortable with Glamour magazine and Entertainment Tonight
He has built friendships with some of America's biggest names, such as Oprah, who is considered one of the most influential women in the U.S.

He has used his friendships to gather support for his policies, such as Obamacare.

“Obama's celebrity accentuates his lack of leadership”
The Washington Times
Andrew, Cooper, «Clebrity Diplomacy»
«Celebrity Advocacy In Charitable and Social Justice Cause»
By M. Teresa Todd, MBA, MA UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA M.A., Strategic Public Relations March 25, 2005
« Gates, Bono, Unveil ‘DATA Agenda’ for Africa, » CNN.com, New York, NY (February
3, 2002
Gordon, Buzzy, « Ever wonder why the stars come out for charity? Thank Celebrity
Brokers, »Jewish Telegraphic Agency, New York, NY (February 4, 2003)
Newland, Kathleen (Migration Policy Institute,) « Letters to the Editor: Angelina Jolie
Brings Real Help to Refugees, »

There's a crossover, some leaders want to be celebrities. And celebrities want to be people of stature."says A.Cooper.
Full transcript