With all the bomb stuff making news in London lately, it got me thinking that maybe there’s a better way to combat the ongoing threat of terrorism in our world today- Marketing. Why not contract every major marketing firm in the world to come up with global marketing campaigns aimed at eliminating terrorism? How they execute their campaigns is limited only by their own creativity, but hey, these firms are experts at eliciting behaviors. Have them do the market research to determine how to reach people before they can become indoctrinated by the terrorists. Maybe they can find a way to associate terrorism with something they consider to be bad. I think the oft-used term of “cowardly” to describe terrorist acts came about from exactly that sort of thinking, but hearing it come from the mouths of world leaders whom the terrorists do not respect and consider their enemies doesn’t exactly do anything to sway them. The message needs to be conveyed in whatever mediums will actually be heard by the potential future terrorists of the world, and it should not be tinged by Western association. Every great advertising campaign achieves it goal by tricking us into making subconscious associations. The goal is usually to elicit a specific human behavior, typically to get us to buy a product of some sort. The association is either some sort of positive feeling associated with the advertiser’s product, or a negative association with a competitor’s product. In the same way we need to figure out how to get into the minds of the young people in the terrorist hotbed countries and sway them into believing that terrorism is bad, cowardly, evil, or any other adjective that runs counter to the traits they hold dear. Don’t make it a pro-Western message because that will tip them off as to where the message is coming from and their minds will shut out the message. Just make it anti-terrorist.
All this takes is money and since we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world, that shouldn’t be a problem. And with so many of the world’s best marketing firms based in the US, we should either pass subsidy bills or at least tax breaks to benefit the firms that undertake such anti-terrorism campaigns. Yes this is propaganda of a sort, but my point is that dropping pamphlets on a country we have invaded is a pretty lame way to try to sway the minds of people in the Middle East. If we let some professional marketing firms take a crack at it, I’m sure we’d see something quite a bit more effective. This would not only reach out to the minds abroad but also to those terrorist sympathizers on our own shores, maybe even reaching people who are on US soil planning a future attack. I think it’s certainly an approach that deserves some consideration.