REBRANDING BUSH’S WAR

When corporations get caught doing something nasty, they don’t really reform – they simply “rebrand.” This involves hiring a bevy of PR consultants to paper over the mess with a new, fuzzy-feeling corporate image.

When corporations get caught doing something nasty, they don’t really reform – they simply “rebrand.” This involves hiring a bevy of PR consultants to paper over the mess with a new, fuzzy-feeling corporate image.

So, thought the corporate-minded Bushites, why not apply this same concept to the mess in Iraq? Thus, the Pentagon paid $400,000 of our tax money to the Rand Corporation to try creating a new “brand identity” for Bush’s warmongering, recasting his military operations in a more positive light for the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places of invasion and occupation.

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Rand has produced a 211-page study titled, “Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation.” To win the hearts and minds of local civilians (a phrase you might recall from the Vietnam war), the study says that the “show of force” brand that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld loved so much when they rushed into Iraq might have been a bit counterproductive.

The report suggests that something more consumer-friendly would be better received by the locals. He suggests a perky “We will help you” brand. Indeed, he calls for the Pentagon to do a better job of understanding its consumer. Of course, when you’re breaking down people’s doors, calling in air strikes that kill civilians, machine-gunning families at checkpoints, and such – well, maybe the Iraqis don’t see themselves as “consumers” of our military.

Still, the study is onto something, noting that the enemy knows that “doing good works is a classic approach to winning friends and influencing people.” Yes, but that requires a fundamental change in the administration’s actions – not a mere marketing spiff-up.

Instead of enlisting Madison Avenue, the Bushites need to call in a couple of good kindergarten teachers to teach them that behavior is more important than image.

“The Pentagon Gets a Lesson From Madison Avenue,” July 21, 2007

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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