Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Protest and Survive

If, like me, you were unlucky enough to go to school in the 1980s, you'll probably also be familiar with 'Protect and Survive'. I was introduced to it during Modern Studies class in high school and I'm pretty certain that the only reason they showed it to us was to give us nightmares and remind us that our lives as we knew them, in 80s Cold War Britain, could end at any given moment in a fiery inferno.

'Protect and Survive' was a series of twenty different Public Information Films which the government produced to show us what to do in the event of a nuclear war. Unfortunately, all of the advice is worse than useless and the only thing that soon becomes clear is that there are no good ways to completely protect yourself and that your odds of survival are miniscule at best. Thankfully, they never did show the films on TV, probably for fear that it'd cause civil unrest, tinned food famine and mass suicides.

Anyway, whilst doing a little internet research into the subject this week, I came across this:

At first view it's somewhat hilarious! The often disturbing cartoony animation of the Protect and Survive films sits askew with the upbeat soundtrack of Fred Astaire giving us a jolly rendition of "Putting on the Ritz". The fact that the images seem to dance in time with the music makes the whole thing all the more comic and fun!

But as the film progresses, the comedy gets blacker and you soon realise it's communicating an altogether serious message. The happy-go-lucky music begins to fade out and eventually the only soundtrack which remains is the wind of a nuclear winter. After all that jollity, it seems they're protesting about the government's plans to replace the country's trident nuclear missiles.

Of course, what you've just witnessed is a very clever piece of viral marketing. It seems the approach is, "make them laugh then make them think." And, in my opinion, it works incredibly well.

I know today's post is all a bit grim but there's a reason to love marketing hidden in there nevertheless. With the help of some inspired marketing communication, you can start to strike a chord with people who ordinarily would have no interest in what it is you're advocating. In fact, what happens is you begin to resonate with people in ways *they* never thought possible, changing their attitudes and their ideals in the process.

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