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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rebranding for Everyone

As I was listening to NPR yesterday I was struck by what a cool name the Tamil Tigers have. It makes me think of a cuddly stuffed animal you might find at Toys R Us right between Teddy Ruxpin and the Littlest Pet Shop. They couldn't have picked a better name if they'd hired a slick LA PR expert.Whenever I hear about their shenanigans I picture thousands of little tigers, running through the jungle in paramilitary gear like Ewoks, burning villages and humping indigenous peoples. It's too bad that they're suck jerks.Terrorism is Grrrreat!
Iraqis got a bum deal with their name. It sounds so sharp and menacing, like a word with a sharp hook embedded in it. I.Rack.You. No good.
The Taliban is the most musical designation out of all the rebel military groups. The sound rolls off the tongue pleasingly, like the name of a complicated Middle Eastern dance or a forbidding palace. " We will now journey to the great Taliban and see the king"
Maybe there's a business opportunity here for image consultants, some over seas work. If some clever Marketing guys could re-brand these terrorist groups with better images we might be more willing to give them a pass and make peace instead of trying to bomb the hate out of them.
If I were trying to convince them, I would say, "Listen Sahid, remember Target? It was low class 20 years ago, on the same level as K Mart. I was embarrassed to shop there in junior high! Now look at it! Everyone loves Target. We could do that for you. You could be the Kurdish Koalas, the Purring Persians, the Iraqi Kinkajous. Americans will love it, they'll think you're a football team."
Think of how much more successful the Viet Kong could have been if they called themselves King Kong. The Japanese would surely have jumped in and helped them out. We might never have gone in there at all, afraid that they would grab all of our women and mount the highest skyscrapers. Image really is everything these days.