The South Korean government will place commercials both at home and abroad next year defending its sovereignty over its easternmost islets of Dokdo, stepping up a public relations drive against Japan's territorial claim to them, foreign ministry officials here said Thursday.

...that task fell to none other than British Prime Minister David Cameron, who, in September 2011, launched a “Britain is GREAT” promotional campaign. Coordinated by multiple government departments and foreign consulates, with events in 17 cities worldwide, the £37 million image project is designed to use the Games to jumpstart tourism and increase inward investment and job opportunities in the UK.

Brand USA, a non-profit, public-private partnership, is to launch a global advertising campaign next month, as part of the country’s concerted effort in marketing tourism to the world. Symbolic as it may be, it sends an unmistakable signal reaffirming America’s openness and optimism, the very foundation of the country’s soft power.

While organisers hope London 2012's economic impact will be one of its main legacies, bringing £1bn of extra business over four years, some question the mixed message being projected by the GREAT campaign.

Britain’s Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt launched a major campaign on Thursday to attract an extra 4.6 million tourists to the U.K. through advertisements in 14 cities worldwide. The goal of the to maximize the tourism and business potential generated by Britain’s hosting of the 2012 Olympics.

The move adds Shanghai to the list of major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Chengdu that advertise their attractions abroad, follow-ups to the national public diplomacy campaign that coincided with President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January.

Xinhua, the news agency run by Chinese government, joined Time Square’s glowing pantheon of corporate iconography Monday, taking the second-highest position in a tower of flashing displays for Prudential, Coca-Cola, Samsung and Hyundai.For Xinhua, the billboard highlights its shift into more visible position in New York’s media landscape.

Xinhua's U.S. expansion is seen as an effort to burnish the country's image and build its brands here. A Pew Research Center poll earlier this year found that 43 percent of Americans saw China as a "serious problem."