Messages from Boko Haram may compete with other terrorist organizations, but its marketing plan clearly falls short by today’s standards. The Nigerian terrorists have posted sizeable numbers – over 12,000 killed and another 8,000 maimed according to their aptly named President Goodluck Jonathan. But how did they ever expect to come out on top without a logo or internet marketing plan?
ISIL on the other hand took to social media like…well, let’s leave the ducks out of this.
Slick videos shot in HD, professionally produced logos, flags, magazines, and thousands of social media accounts help get their messages out in the same way that McDonald’s or Toyota might in the U.S. It’s estimated there are about 46,000 Twitter accounts that promote ISIL, with about 500 to 2,000 “hyperactive” users each responsible for up to 2,000 posts each day. Each account has about a thousand followers, so let’s just agree they are winning the Twitter wars.
So how are we doing marketing Peace? For starters, we’re still using the same 1958 logo, the Peace Sign, designed for Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Before you start looking for CND in the logo, it was designed based on the semaphore flag signals for the letters N and D. That is, the flag system still used on ships that requires a person to hold two flags in various positions to send messages, usually of distress.
The Peace Sign got its legs from the anti-nuclear war movement, and suffered the same attacks that modern progressive movements experience. The 1970 John Birch Society claimed the Peace sign was a witch’s foot while a national Republican newsletter reported it has “an ominous similarity” to the symbol used by the Nazi’s. Seriously?
I’ve owned a Peace Sign since around 1969. My first one hung around my neck on a rough leather cord. Today’s version is sterling silver on a thin chain, but I’m still a little surprised by the reaction is gets in my Redder than Red state of Louisiana.
“I cannot freakin’ believe you’re wearing that!” laughed one 30-year-old progressive, clearly impressed by the brashness he felt it took for me to be willing to publicly say, “Peace”.
It’s clear we need to step up our game, build some brand value. The Peace Sign is not just a symbol against nuclear war – it’s a message we should carry every day. Whether you like the olive branch, the dove, forming the letter V with your hand, the Peace Sign or maybe some contemporary creative genius wants to come up with a new logo for Peace, let’s start marketing the message of Peace like they sell war. That’s the world we live in. Don’t you think Peace deserves a marketing strategy as good as those for terrorism?
Do you want Peace to be Circuit City, Polaroid or the XFL? Or do you want it to be a lifestyle brand like Apple, Microsoft or Coca-Cola? Let’s get to work, people!
Rannah Gray is an author, political and marketing consultant who has numerous successful campaigns to her credit including the elections of Mayor-President Kip Holden of Baton Rouge, where she resides.