U.S. AND AL JAZEERA ARAB TV FALL OUT OVER AD BUY

State Department Says Price Was Too High

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The State Department today disclosed details of the $15 million monthlong advertising campaign aimed at Muslim nations that highlights the diversity of Muslim life in the U.S.

The government had hoped to run TV spots from the campaign on Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arab-language satellite TV station, but that deal has fallen through due to high media prices.

"They [Al Jazeera] wanted too much money," State Department press spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Couldn't reach a price
Mr. Boucher said the

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agency behind the ads, Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, had been negotiating the buys in foreign media and that the agency and Al Jazeera were unable to agree on a price for running the spots.

The ads, the first effort by the State Department to use advertising to deliver U.S. foreign policy abroad, were developed by Charlotte Beers, the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs and a longtime former advertising executive.

The spots, which began airing today in Indonesia and will also run in a number of Muslim countries and in pan-Arab media, were timed to begin during Ramadan, a time of reflection on Muslim life and faith that begins in early November and ends in early December.

Mini documentaries
Various spots appearing as mini documentaries describe Muslim life in the U.S. A Web site (opendialogue.org) put together by the State Department and the Council of American Muslims for Understanding, which features the documentaries, says the spots represent an attempt to "encourage a broader dialogue and stimulate a forum for the exchange of ideas and information between Americans of all faiths and people from the Muslim world."

Mr. Boucher said the ads aren't directly intended to stop terrorism but instead are one part of a larger effort to help people in Muslim nations understand America's misunderstood story.

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