In memory of 298 people that were killed by terrorists last year in Turkey

In a world of consumption, nothing can be marketing-free. Cars, smartphones, newspapers, politicians, NGOs, countries and even religions.

In a world where brands exploit social morals and beliefs, it is consequential that belief systems mimic strategies and tactics that brands use to market themselves. Even terrorist groups behave like brands using a targeted media. They know whom to target, how to recruit and they have a relevant (?) promise to sell.

As marketeers all around the world, we can understand how terrorists market their twisted thinking. Because they are being inspired from us… As we, being inspired from nationalism, social morals, heroic stories, religious rituals like Christmas and Ramadan only to make more profit. We felt no responsibility about exploiting social morals for money, and they feel no responsibility about exploiting hatred for power.

When you make an assumption about religions as if they are marketing goods , you can easily see that they all have the fundamental elements that a brand has to have; brand names, packaging, colour codes, audio cues, visual cues, emblems, archetypes, occasions, promises, organisations, PR events, sponsorships, spokespeople, sales points, brand stories, branded content, ambassadors, mascots, branded literature, etc… Them having no commercial targets do not mean that religions cannot be perceived as brands; NGOs have brands. Them being a social and cultural phenomena does not mean that religions cannot be observed as brands; countries are being marketed as tourism or investment brands. Them being sacred and holy, does not mean that we cannot try to understand their power and influence as brands.

On contrary, in a world where terrorism recruits young people globally and discrimination is on the rise, we’d better see and talk about the opportunistic attempts to market religion-related hatred exploited by so-called- belief brands.  

It might not feel politically correct for many people. However, I am not trying to offend any religion, nation or any belief system. I am making a clear distinction between belief systems and opportunism through believes. And I am making a call for all of us to be more honest, more responsible as marketeers to not to manipulate, pretend, lie, trick… and inspire them.

Watch the video below, it was produced anonymously in 2005. It requires a huge budget and expertise to create such a thing. It might be an extreme example in these circumstances but we are still producing innocent (?) fake adverts with our FX capabilities and put them on Social Media to have some “likes” to be put on our case video to send to CannesLions. Now hoax design -as an expertise- became so powerful and even affected election results… Now think about all the terror videos you see: who create them, are they all real, what are their purpose, why do people share and post them? 

Volkswagen – Bomber

On the other hand, we also pretend as if we have divine purposes and make people believe the good (?) in our brands/companies, they do exactly the same. There are no differences.

We are the ones that over promised to our consumers and made them to sign contracts just to force them stick with us, as all terrorist organisations do.

We are the ones put a “premium price” for a poor quality product and spent the money on expensive advertising to make the product perceived as a status symbol, to create a pride of ownership, to add a “cool factor”… And the price terrorists willingly pay is their lives. How cool is that?

I sometimes think that we are not that different from them. Less evil, more ignorant but another opportunist.

Just two days ago (Jan, 5th -2017), a police officer in Izmir (Turkey) prevented a big terrorist attack and passed away. Today everybody is talking about him, he became a national hero… It may feel awkward for you to understand why he is so appraised: he was on duty, it was his job to stop and check the vehicles that are suspicious anyways…. How about putting yourself in his shoes, would you stop a car that is full of explosives just because it is your job?

We do not need to be heroes and fight back when we’re asked to be opportunistic and/or manipulate, but maybe we can be a little more responsible and show them a more honest way to sell their goods.

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