Category Archives: brand strategy

Quaeda-gram? Jihadify?

Maybe not the most useful, but certainly the most amusing thing to emerge from the cache of documents recovered by the Navy Seals from Bin Laden’s compound after the raid, was his attempts to rebrand Al-Queda with something a little spiffier and more appealing.

Al-Queda, after all, means “The Base,” as in military base. Hardly the Big Tent name needed for such a many-tentacled death cult. Many is the briefing session I’ve sat through where it was explained that Organization X isn’t just in the _______  business anymore; now we’re part of people’s lives in so many ways! Let’s capture that in the new name. Etc. Etc. Etc. Well, same here.

Osama Bin Laden, in his duel roles as CEO/CMO, helpfully wrote both the brief and the creative response. Here are some of his proposed new names for Al-Quaeda, with some comments and concerns from me–understanding full well that I am not the targetaudience:

Jama‟at nasr al-Islam wal-aksa
[Support of Islam and Al-Aqsa Group]

This feels a little wishy-washy to me…it’s a lot more than “support,” isn’t it?

Jama‟at i‟adat al-khilafat al-rashida 
[Restoration of the Caliphate Group]

Nice but I’m concerned the historical references may go over the audience’s heads.

Jama‟at wihda al-Muslimin 
[Muslim Unity Group]

Short and punchy, but in English the acronym would be MUG.

Net, I’m not sure they’re “there” yet. But as an American, I like the fact that they’re obsessing over this stupidity. Our own experience is that when powerful brands go down this road, it rarely ends well. New Coke, anyone?

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Ads from the Great Recession

Following the recent layoffs at O&M and elsewhere, there are maybe 32 people left to make ads for every client in the world during the Great Recession.

Some of these clients are staggering ahead, zombie-like, their ads suggesting they don’t know they’re actually dead and that the living are in pain. While Citi natters on about never sleeping, a concept that was novel in the pre-digital, pre-global, pre-ATM’ 70s but flat-out stupid now, ING is getting with the program by championing savings and the savers who save it.

Tiffany reacted with what I thought was tremendous speed (probably because they had this campaign ready to go for the Doomsday scenario currently unfolding) with their holiday ads talking about buying fewer, better things and gifts that hold value. Moral issues aside (and they are legion), this was clever thinking.

But I knew we were well and truly deep into the Great Recession when I saw a Gillette spot pleading with people not to re-use their disposable blades. Brother, can you spare a 5-blade Fusion cartridge?