One thing I can’t get out of my mind as we approach an impending war (in just 8 hours!) is the supreme display of marketing prowess on the part of the Bush Administration.
We were attacked by a rogue terrorist group on September 11, 2001. It seemed clear to me at the time that there would be a worldwide police action to find them and deal with them. It was six billion vs. a few hundred (a couple thousand, tops?). That wasn’t the approach however, and we ended up bombing Afghanistan in an attempt to kill all the operatives that were still in the country. Perhaps it was the cold war era leaders in the administration, but even though we were attacked by a terrorist group and not a country, we decided to limit our actions to a response in another country.
But here’s where the marketing comes in. We’re not sure if we got the one guy we were looking for. After a few months, this country seems to give up on getting him, but instead of discussing failure, the conversation is shifted. We now need to remove another dictator that has been problematic in the past. Without much in the way of evidence of current wrongdoing, and in some cases outright lying, the majority went along with it. Not only was the conversation shifted, it remains shifted and the administration is achieving the goals it clearly set out to accomplish.
I don’t know if you noticed, but this is huge. Imagine a marketing group saying that in 6 months, no one will talk about Google.com any more, we’ll all be discussing Teoma or All The Web for anything search related, even though they don’t have very many compelling reasons you should do so. Then imagine them pulling it off, and six months from now no one cares much for google.
Kudos to the Bush Adminstration for pulling off one of the biggest strokes of marketing genius I’ve ever seen.