Operation Buzzword

Marketing firms have perfected the art and science of crafting compelling campaigns.  The best campaigns reach a level so deep that targeted consumers are left with indelible memory retention, emotional engagement and motivation to act.  Think back to some age-old advertising slogans.  Even after more than 20 years, we remember the peace of mind we had upon hearing “Don’t leave home without it.”  Or “Plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.”  Or “You’re in good hands.”  

We know that marketing  and ad campaigns see the light of day only after they have been fleshed out, flushed out, looked at upside down and inside out, extensively field and focus group tested, to ensure the message reaches targeted eyes and ears in the most stirring manner possible.

I found it interesting to read recently that military operations are named using a similar process.  In “Operation Name Game:  Where Military Might Meets Marketing,” The Washington Post’s Christian Davenport looks at how U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are named–so as to rile the troops, intimidate or soften up the enemy or comfort those on the home front. 

For example, he points out that campaigns directed internally at the troops (e.g., Operation Scorpion Sting) are named differently from those aimed at local population (e.g., Glad Tidings of Benevolence) to elicit the desired response.

He added that campaign crafters are also charged with identifying potential downsides, to avoid serious consequences – such as being ridiculed in late night monologues.  Davenport upholds Winston Churchill as one of the best marketeers in history but notes Churchill didn’t have to worry about Leno.

But think about it.  The same opinion research, buzzwords and psychographics are in play among military strategists that might have gone in to Staples’ Easy Button.  Click; it’s that easy.  Northrop Grumman should get in on that one.

Read Davenport’s piece; it’s brilliantly written.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Marketing/Advertising/PR, News

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