From the Washington Post:

… 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.” …

Since I know you will want to read the whole study, it is here.


… In an urban insurgency, for example, civilians can help identify enemy infiltrators and otherwise assist U.S. forces. They are less likely to help, the study says, when they become “collateral damage” in U.S. attacks, have their doors broken down or are shot at checkpoints because they do not speak English. …

(via Marc Andreessen)


Richard Giles is on BoingBoing! Well done mate! With friends in high places, who needs Cam???


More from the RAND report:

Public opinion polls suggest that much of the anti-Americanism observed in the Muslim world today is attributable to U.S. policies rather than to U.S. culture, values, or people. In a 2004 poll, for example, Zogby International found that residents of most Arab countries had positive opinions about “American services and technology,” “American freedom and democracy,” “American people,” “American education,” “American products,” and the like. But many of those same respondents held negative opinions about U.S. policies toward the Palestinian conflict and Iraq.


Anil Dash links to a fascinating 1995 doco by Brian Springer called SPIN, about how the media was used for, and itself used, spin during the 1992 US Presidential elections. The most fascinating part for me was about 18 minutes in where they discuss a Demoractic candidate Larry Agran. For some reason Agran, although running third in the early polling, was totally ignored by the media. He was cut out of photos carried in newspapers and refused access to televised debates involving the other candidates. He was eventually imprisoned for interrupting a televised debate demanding he be heard, and was released from jail after the Democratic National Congress had already started. Another example of how you need to have access to media in order to participate in the political process and how the mainstream media interferes with politics when they want to. To suggest they just “report the facts” is a joke and a bad one at that.