I saw my friend Joshua Ramos for a drink the other evening. He was telling me about his new book The Age of the Unthinkable in which he details all he learned from Hezbollah’s new media guy on how to run an effective communications strategy against a better-funded adversary. Remember, this is the same team that turned an impossible-to-win military campaign against Israel in ’06 into a perceived victory. And if you agree that in today’s media frenzied environment that perception is reality… then the round went to Hezbollah.
Though we were discussing Mid-East policy, my mind went immediately to brand marketers who essentially faces the same issues: how easily a single crafty teenager can ju-jitsu multi-million dollar budgets and turn big business assets into liabilities.
So I took a stroll through the darker alleys of the internet to peek at marketing and outreach techniques by some of society’s better-known ideological enemies. I collected a few links below (before stopping in fear of having an FBI file opened on me).
To be honest, gang members, terrorists and racial hate groups don’t seem to as technology and media-savvy as I expected. All the sites I found could have been created by the same web designer (in 1998): free hosting, terrible anthem-like music files, and lots of broken links. I get the sense many of these sites are constantly on the move, remaining one step ahead of hosting companies and law enforcement agencies whose job it is to stomp them out in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.
Please proceed through the links below with caution… (MORE BELOW)
Barrio Avenues Gang Los Angeles myspace page
Hells Angel’s Las Vegas Chapter
The dangers of remedial banner buys: Crips brand sponsors include Sprint, T-Mobile and Kaplan University.
While the minimum age requirement to roll for the Crips is 11, it is 14 to stomp for the National Front. The outreach program seems to be effective with voting age members as the site is celebratory over their big 2008 election gains.
Jihad for kids
Translated as “The Conqueror,” this Hamas website offers children first-hand tales of proud mothers of martyrs celebrating their son’s journey to paradise by buying all the neighborhood children figs and dates. I also found an interesting Space Invader-like game and would love to know what the text underneath says if anyone reading this post speaks Arabic.
Have any more?