Saturday, December 06, 2008

terror marketing

i keep on coming back to the power of marketing...which seems to be the all pervasive driving force behind everything today. right from innovation to terror, everyone wants to be recognized, to be marketed.
and the mumbai blasts stamped that fact. the coverage given was immense, the terrorists caught on tape must have become poster boys for the like minded. their stamina, their motivation talked about, and this would become an inspiration for others.  those videos would be used for ever to motivate those vulnerable, to value death and killing more then life itself. 
so the question is would a blanket freeze over showcasing such videos, photographs help. would it lessen the motivation, would it make those ready to kill and die in the process for a cause which they do not really understand well, but are convinced is their own, question why?, question, what will i get out of it?
in a discussion with someone who has thoughts so of his own, over the motivation for killing, it was pointed out that its not really motivation coming out of a the cause, but more out of the fact that they will be regarded as heroes, as martyrs for a cause. the base why you even think of doing something like this is the absence of the basics in life, absence of food, education, those things which make life worht living, but the thing which second or third level motication, which actually makes you cross that line, which makes u believe that you are getting something in return is the fame which comes along with it. if thats true then, they would want to be known far and wide, and video's and photographs, and lengthy accounts of how they did it, goes a long way. so yes, a blanket ban on showing this to the general public would help. become fame (even through infamy) is, i believe a bigger motivation then money itself, then any religious cause, no one does anything especially if not serving one of your basic needs, if they know it won't be recognized.  its human nature.
and of course, the simple question of returns, ROI, will come into picture. if these things are not publicized the way they are, and as widely, imagine the number of attacks required for the same amount of terror. today after mumbai, the entire country is in fear, but if people in other cities won't have seen the images, it would be difficult to terrorize everyone with one attack. the ROI of that one attack will be very less, more sacrifices would be needed for the same results. and sorry for being cold, but thats how people who make decision would be thinking of it. cold and calculative.
that said, its only because of people watching that 60 hour marathon live coverage, of being glued to their TV sets, and the unending discussions that followed, that the reaction of the nation has been so strong. people are recognizing that the elected are not doing a very good job,  recognizing the fact that we, the general public, are being used like those young kids, who killed and died, for a personal agenda of some.  come to think of it we are not very different. 
all said, the power of media, and frankly, the power of marketing is immense, especially today. and with the immaturity of the majority audience, this power can, very easily be misused. the thoughts which are conveyed, the analysis which is given can change our thinking, because, frankly, very few of us think on our own, we just repeat or adhere to someone else's philosophy. easy to follow then to think on you own, let alone lead or walk alone.
so should media be analyzing at all. isn't the media's job to tell the facts, and if analyzing, have a differentiation between the facts, and their analysis, their comments. i believe news at least, the half an hour devoted every hour, should be devoted only to stating the facts. the analysis, should be preceded by a warning "this is our analysis, these are our thoughts, understand them, don't follow them blindly'"
as for the videos shown, its the same, videos showing actual events are fine, but videos of terrorists or those elected, should not be served to the public as fact. that is just making media a medium for propaganda. if it has to, they should be asked to buy airtime, and preceded by a warning..."this is propaganda, this is what this person or this organization has to say, this is not we are saying"
and i call them 'the elected' because, they are elected by us. they are our representatives. i believe this, those who rule, come out of those being ruled, they are one of us. the questions is are you electing the best of you, or the worst of you.

take care. hope you survive the new reality.

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