Saturday, July 21, 2007


WTF is wrong with these people? The "problems" in Iraq are because we didn't have a good "marketing" strategy?

In the advertising world, brand identity is everything. Volvo means safety. Colgate means clean. IPod means cool. But since the U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003, its "show of force" brand has proved to have limited appeal to Iraqi consumers, according to a recent study commissioned by the U.S. military.

The key to boosting the image and effectiveness of U.S. military operations
around the world involves "shaping" both the product and the marketplace, and
then establishing a brand identity that places what you are selling in a positive light, said clinical psychologist Todd C. Helmus, the author of "Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation." The 211-page study, for which the U.S. Joint Forces Command paid the Rand Corp. $400,000, was released this week.

Some days I read something so mind-numbingly stupid that I wonder how the author finds their way to the restroom. Sample:

In an urban insurgency, for example, civilians can help identify enemy infiltrators and otherwise assist U.S. forces. They are less likely to help, the study says, when they become "collateral damage" in U.S. attacks, have their doors broken down or are shot at checkpoints because they do not speak English. Cultural connections -- seeking out the local head man when entering a neighborhood, looking someone in the eye when offering a friendly wave -- are key.

So now we know why the Iraq occupation isn't going so well. We haven't been marketing properly.

"We want to look at new concepts, new business practices, to see if there are things that we can learn," he said. Since his office was established after the U.S. military issued a new doctrine for urban warfare in 2002, "we've been collecting lessons learned from all over the world," he said. "Not just Iraq and Afghanistan, but places like the Philippines and South America. Wherever there have been fights, we went out and looked at them."

The challenge for the advertising study, he said, was to find "something we can learn from Madison Avenue or from the marketers, the best in the world, that might help us when we're trying to deliver a message about what democracy is." In Iraq, Schattle said, the "urban population is the center of gravity" and the problem is "how we influence them to be on our side, or at least not be an enemy" when "what they see is armor." The goal of such studies, Schattle said, is to distill what works and incorporate it into future training.

Yeah, that'll work.


fairlane said...

"They are less likely to help...when they...are shot at checkpoints?"

Look, I would help, but you shot me in the neck, and I'm really upset with you right now.

Let me pick my Adam's Apple off the ground and calm down for a second, then we'll talk about it.

I don't know about you, but the first thing I do when I need help is shoot the person.

Blam, blam, blam, hey man you think you can give me a jump? My battery's dead.

Demeur said...

How about putting smiley faces on their helmets?

Anonymous said...

We've passed through stupid to insane. And we paid a $400K ticket price to go on that little ride.

gandhisxmas said...

This is an important post because it focuses on the current emphasis on perception over reality. Corporate Capitalist USA is incredibly image conscious,being concerned with perception while discounting facts, rationality, etc. The lead up to Iraq was all perception control. The official history of the occupation is all perception control.

Americans, and I know some people aint gonna like this, really believe they are better than the rest of the world. This is how a good majority of the American folk supported attacking Iraq, believing our violence spreads civilization, democracy, Jesus, goodness..etc. etc. etc.

The public relations industry in the Shining City on the Hill has created a totalitarian mass society. All dominant media forms treat us as perpetual toothpaste and deodorant buyers. Politics, economics, social discourse, democracy is all sold through the lens of the clever marketer. They sell and spread fear, uncertainty, anxiety, taking advantage of peoples' subconscious processes. They hijack decency, integrity, freedom, democracy, and debase their meanings for their own ends.

The Republic turned Empire is in Trouble, and we all know it.