Will ‘Terror has no religion’ campaign make a difference?

No to terror campaign ad A contributor on the ABC News’ blog drew my attention to an anti-terrorism TV ad dubbed "Suicidal Terror" [see below] from a campaign entitled Terror has no religion that is currently running on TV channels and in newspapers across the Middle East. The blogger saw the TV ad while stationed in Amman. He says:

I was flipping around Arab Satellite channels in Amman last week and I noticed something rare — a slick Hollywood-style TV ad. The standard of TV production in the Middle East stinks – lots of bad lighting and make-up. So when a very polished ad popped up it grabbed my attention. In graphic detail, the spot shows the aftermath of a suicide bombing. Clearly, the aim is to try and dissuade would-be suicide bombers.

The special effects, the acting and general production value was so clearly NOT locally produced. It seemed very "Hollywood." Sure enough, the ads are made in America. They are part of a massive multi-million dollar campaign to win ‘hearts and minds’ in the Arab world. The production company based in LA, called 900 Frames, says it got money from some moderate Iraqis who would like to remain anonymous.

I skimmed through the campaign website and I must say it looks impressive. But it begs several questions. Will these ads make a difference? Will they make potential suicide bombers think twice before committing their fatal act? One can only hope.The blog’s author is skeptical, however.

Sadly, these ads appear to miss the mark. Sure they get your attention but they do look VERY American and will likely be viewed with plenty of skepticism, seen as mere propaganda. More importantly, all the ads are based on one message, "Terror Has No Religion" and suicide bombing runs counter Islam.

In my humble opinion, in today’s world any effort to stop the current bloodshed in places like Iraq should be applauded regardless of the party endorsing the effort. What really matters is ending the carnage once and for all. The ad in question is below, but you can click here to visit the site and see the rest.

4 thoughts on “Will ‘Terror has no religion’ campaign make a difference?”

  1. The explosion sequence has a very “Swordfish”-y affect. I think the commercial ad is well done, but I would agree with your conclusion that this won’t make a significant difference.

  2. I’m not so pessimistic. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s worth a try anyway.

    There seems to be so much pro-jihadi propaganda. It’s about time for some anti-jihadi messaging.

    Speaking of which: I’m a marketing consultant. My experience leads me not to worry too much about whether people see an as propaganda – or not. What matters is whether or not it makes an emotional connection. Particularly in Iraq, it’s hard to imagine that it wouldn’t.

    And a single-minded message is a good thing: it becomes embedded in the brain – you can’t get rid of it. (Don’t squeeze the Charmin. Snickers satisfy. Apply directly to the head.) I’ve a feeling that “terror has no religion” is a great thought to implant in the target audience’s mind. Especially when backed up by koranic verses.

    A great trick in communication is to seed supportive- and counter- arguments. In this case, it’s a counter-argument. Any increase in doubt that jihadi pronouncements are ‘true islam’ – any individuals who come to wonder about their truth when previously he/she didn’t – will yield enormous dividends.

    Thanks, Natasha, for posting this. You’ve made my day.

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