By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
With the CIA now predicting civil war in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has to hurry up and get its show elections on the road. To that end it is asking for bids on a contract for an "Advertising Campaign to Educate Iraqis on the Iraq Electoral Process" so as to hasten the transition "to Iraqi sovereignty."
"For the transition to be successful, the Iraqi people must understand the new democratic process and the role they are now freeand expectedto play in their own self-governance," says the CPA's request for proposals. "To achieve the minimum necessary level of education in the extremely short amount of time available, the CPA and Iraqi Government must use all available means and tools of communication. A professionally researched and executed comprehensive, synchronized educational advertising campaign is therefore an essential element."
The CPA wants proposals from "all responsible sources in the field of advertising with specialized experience in the Middle East" to prepare a "full communications plan in support of the Iraq electoral process." To wit:
"Create and execute a major, time-compressed advertising campaign in Iraq designed to (1) inform and educate the Iraqi people about the transition to sovereignty and the caucus/electoral process leading to a democratically elected Government in Iraq, (2) encourage Iraqi participation (call to action) in the caucus/electoral process, and (3) build support and credibility for new Transitional Assembly."
This involves figuring out a "campaign strategy for approval by the CPA" and to "develop 'branding' to include a symbol and slogan for this 'transitional campaign' that ties together all of its facets into a coherent national program." The CPA's document adds: "All rights to symbol(s) and slogan(s) shall be retained by CPA, its successors, or the Government of Iraq."
The ad campaign "should be geared to inform and educate the Iraqi population in a non-propaganda style about the electoral process and to engage their participationpositively and constructively," according to the proposal. But it goes on to say, "The desired post-campaign 'action step' is to quickly motivate the Iraqi people to express a positive attitude and participate in the process in order to make it a successful initiative."
Not that the ad campaign will stop with an actual election. The CPA's direction to bidders: "Following CPA's transformation into a U.S. embassy, continue campaign under the direction of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq or any successor organization to CPA as necessary or required."
Thankfully, the U.S. is urging that the "project manager proposed for the effort should be fluent in English and Arabic."