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In October 2002, the U.S. Department of State under the direction of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and former advertising executive Charlotte Beers launched a first-ever public diplomacy campaign featuring television spots promoting the happy lives of American Muslims. The advertising campaign, known as the ‘Shared Values Initiative,’ ran on a limited schedule throughout the Middle East and Asia through January 2003. This article attempts to assess the reactions and feelings that international viewers have toward the commercials and, to the extent possible, evaluate the effectiveness of the commercials on changing international audiences' attitudes toward the United States. International students from various countries who were enrolled at Regents College in London, England in the summer of 2003 constituted the sample for this study. An experimental design, similar to those found in World War II propaganda literature, was employed to measure their attitudes toward the U.S. government, the American people, and their perception of how Muslims are treated in America before and after viewing the State Department commercials. The international students' reactions to the spots in the form of an advertising copy test are also reported.
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