Saturday, July 21, 2007

Occupation going badly? All you need is better advertising!

Image is everything

They have decided that what the military really needs in Iraq is…a new branding effort! To that end, they are looking into ways to repackage a hostile occupation to make it palatable and desirable for the occupied population. A veritable “must have” if you will.

“Well, why not?” They must be thinking. “The American sheeple sure bought the “greeted with flowers and candy as liberators” hokum.

Since the whole “show of force” thing has proven to be wildly unpopular with the targeted consumers – the citizens of Iraq – maybe repackaging the occupation will improve the market share. Even though every focus group conducted shows that the Iraqis simply want us to leave.

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.

Helmus and his co-authors concluded that the "force" brand, which the United States peddled for the first few years of the occupation, was doomed from the start and lost ground to enemies' competing brands. While not abandoning the more aggressive elements of warfare, the report suggested, a more attractive brand for the Iraqi people might have been "We will help you." That is what President Bush's new Iraq strategy is striving for as it focuses on establishing a protective U.S. troop presence in Baghdad neighborhoods, training Iraq's security forces, and encouraging the central and local governments to take the lead in making things better.

Many of the study's conclusions may seem as obvious as they are hard to implement amid combat operations and terrorist attacks, and Helmus acknowledged that it could be too late for extensive rebranding of the U.S. effort in Iraq. But Duane Schattle, whose urban operations office at the Joint Forces Command ordered the study, said that "cities are the battlegrounds of the future" and what has happened in Baghdad provides lessons for the future. "This isn't just about going in and blowing things up," Schattle said. "This is about working in a very complex environment."

Can you even stand it? They went rushing into a country, destabilized the entire region, gave the Iranians a long-awaited victory in their war with Iraq, and fomented a civil war…now they are convinced that all they really need is to rebrand the whole thing. That’ll be just the ticket…That is what the Joint Forces Command paid the Rand Corporation $400,000 dollars to conclude.

"Certain things do not translate well," the study warned. "Danger lies behind assumptions of similarity." A gesture Bush made during his 2005 inaugural parade -- the University of Texas "hook 'em horns" salute with raised index and pinkie fingers -- stands for the "sign of the devil" in some cultures and an indication of marital infidelity in others. A leaflet dropped to intimidate Iraqi insurgents, the study noted, "also reached noncombatants" and "gave everyone who picked it up the 'evil eye.' "

I bang my head on my desk in frustration. It’s a bit late for that, don’t you think?

The arrogant bastards who ignored reality in favor of the alternate one they created think they can salvage this whole fiasco with a new image?

There is only one explanation…They must think Iraqis are as gullible and stupid as most Americans.