We all know that sex sells. But fear looks to be challenging sex as a primary motivator in the post-911 world. The Republican National Convention was a four-day spectacle built on the unifying power of fear. The message was dead on–if you want to live and feel safe in fortress America, vote for Bush. Fear took us to war and fear will keep us there.
In advertising, where I’ve spent a decade crafting pithy lines for large consumer brands, I can report that employing fear as a motivating device is also fair game. Look at any insurance ad. That’s fear in your face, but there are also more subtle applications. Take beer advertising. Marketers speak of their beer not as a beverage but as a badge. They see their targeted consumers as wearing badges. I follow their drift, but in the end it’s just some guys drinking beer. Implicit in the idea of a badge is one’s need to connect with the right badge. To select the wrong symbol, or badge, is to be in error. Burdens will soon ensue.
The line that separates.
The Republican Party thinks it owns the American flag. It’s their badge. “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists,” said Dubya. That is, if you are one of those Americans who chooses to dissent, you have picked the wrong badge. You’re on the wrong team. You’re un-American at best, or worse, you’re with the enemy. It’s incumbent upon the American people to not only reject the men in office, we must rid ourselves of their divisive messaging.