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Practicing citizen diplomacy 2.0: “The Hot Dudes and Hummus—Israel’s Yummiest” campaign for Israel’s branding

Tal Samuel-Azran (), Betti Ilovici, Israel Zari and Orly Geduild
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Tal Samuel-Azran: Sammy Ofer School of Communications at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC)
Betti Ilovici: Sammy Ofer School of Communications at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC)
Israel Zari: Sammy Ofer School of Communications at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC)
Orly Geduild: Sammy Ofer School of Communications at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC)

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 2019, vol. 15, issue 1, 38-49

Abstract: Abstract The concept of citizen diplomacy is central in public diplomacy studies, although so far very few studies have documented real-life cases of citizen diplomacy initiatives. Moreover, the few cases documented mainly represent government-initiated citizen diplomacy rather than bottom-up projects, and mostly for governments with a positive image. This study describes, based on data from Instagram Insights, a case study of a high-profile citizen diplomacy initiative started by four students from Israel, a country with a highly problematic international image. The students launched the Instagram account “Hot Dudes with Hummus—Israel’s Yummiest” gaining attention from leading international entertainment outlets and attracting around 42,000 Instagram followers, over 90% from outside of Israel. To better understand the reception of the campaign, the paper is complemented by a content analysis of user comments sentiment, revealing that 67% of the comments contained positive sentiment. The study illustrates the potency of citizen diplomacy initiatives and shows that in the age of online social networks, citizens who understand the online social media environment can lead efficient nation branding campaigns.

Keywords: Nation branding; Public diplomacy; Israel; Applied citizen diplomacy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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