Thursday, 13 October 2011

Planning and Propaganda

Years back, reading through the awards for Planning, you were rarely treated to a story more world-changing than a cheeky competitor knocking the brand leader for birdseed off its perch. Of course, this is what our job is all about and what keeps us and our clients happy. And there's nothing much wrong with that.

But occasionally, when reading through an award paper for a charity, say, we might be tempted to feel that our talents could be put to better use for the greater good of humanity than pushing birdseed.

This year, the Grand Prix in the APG Creative Strategy Awards has been won by Colombia-based Lowe-SSPS for their work with the Colombian Ministry of Defence entitled Operation Christmas - a campaign to encourage guerillas to demobilise.

The insight was that even hardcore guerillas, like all human beings, are most susceptible to a message to lay down their arms at Christmas - and an amazing campaign that resulted in 331 guerillas demobilising was created.

A great achievement, without doubt, but probably worth a pause for thought. Propaganda became a dirty word in the course of the 20th century, largely through its very effective use by those on the "wrong side."

It's doubtful that a recruiting campaign for the guerillas, however effective, would win any prizes.

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