No sooner than I had found that today's aviation article was indeed in the business section, a strange insert slipped out of the paper and hit the tile floor. Was it a Circuit City flyer? An ad for an even bigger car? Nope, an 8-page, full-color advertorial called "Our World." And all of the articles were about Kazakhstan!
There's TENGIZCHEVROIL, the oil company, and KazTransGaz, the gas company, both working "for the benefit of Kazakhstan." Kuat, the state construction company, is busy building state of the art, "western standard hotels" for oil hungry execs. And the state railroad, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, is beginning to contemplate running "European gauge" tracks for the first time so containerized goods can travel by rail from China to Europe. All this information was accompanied by portraits of the dour-faced Eurasian Muslim men who run everything.
I never learned so much about Kazakhstan in a single five minutes before! And on a Comfort Inn shitter in Maine! Who could be responsible?
It's the marketing firm United World. They make these things for all sorts of countries--check out what they did for Botswana!--and then stick them exclusively in USA Today.
It seems a strange strategy, but obviously one a lot of developing nations are willing to pursue. Maybe the next time I'm in a hotel AND have diarrhea AND someone slips "the USA" under my door, I can learn something new about Cameroon or Kyrgyzstan.