Why Yes, That is Katie Couric on a Billboard in Baghdad
The Iraqi Electricity Ministry is issuing five minute daily news bulletins about the state of the day’s electricty. The unauthorized face of the campaign: Katie Couric.
Via the New York Times:
At more than two dozen locations around this city, officials have posted giant billboards of Ms. Couric, billed as “America’s Sweetheart” during her time as a host of the “Today” show on NBC. From high above the steamy streets, or from the side of blast walls, Ms. Couric beams out at passers-by in an advertisement for a daily news bulletin about electricity that is produced by the government and is shown on 11 satellite television channels.
“It doesn’t give me hope about electricity, but I like to see her beautiful face,” Habib Harbi, who sells watermelon in the summer and sweets in the winter, said as he looked across the street at the billboard from his fruit stand…
“We were looking for a bright and optimistic face that inspires the people to imagine a better future for electricity,” said Musaab al-Mudarrs, the spokesman for the Electricity Ministry, who said designers had plucked Ms. Couric’s image from the Internet…
Mr. Mudarrs said the face of an American woman was sought for the campaign because showcasing an Iraqi woman would violate cultural taboos. And Ms. Couric, he said, was dressed appropriately in the picture — she was wearing a brown Max Mara blazer — and was the right age. “We didn’t want someone to be very old or very young, and she was in the middle,” he said. Mr. Mudarrs did say he was a bit worried that “when she finds out, maybe she will file a lawsuit against us.”
Katie Couric: Not too old, not too young and dressed just right.
Couric tells the Times there will be no lawsuits but the billboards are “bizarre and slightly amusing.”
New York Times, Putting a Megawatt Smile on a Simmering Problem.