Vive Le Canada

Does Using The Word 'Propaganda' Help Corporations?
Date: Friday, July 14 2006
Topic:


Does Using The Word 'Propaganda' Help Corporations?

By Ben Mack

11/16/05 "ICH " -- -- The greatest marketing trick of the 20th century was the positioning of propaganda. Marketing is propaganda. Positioning propaganda as distinct from other forms of marketing is state-of-the-art persuasion.

The definition of Propaganda varies greatly by source. The Catholic Church coined the word "propaganda" in 1622 within the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, which was commissioned by Pope Gregory XV. One of Pope Gregory's accountants came to the conclusion that it was more cost effective to teach Catholicism than to invade and force conversion. The accountant had the insight to recognize that a territory could be acquired less expensively by converting people's minds. It might take more time, but if you convert the minds, the bodies will follow. And, converting minds is less expensive than physically enforcing new sovereignty.

The word propaganda has radically changed during the 20th Century. In the Introduction to the re-release of Edward Barnays' Propaganda, Mark Crispin Miller explains, "Prior to World War One, the word propaganda was little-used in English, except by certain social activists, and close observers of the Vatican; and, back then, propaganda tended not to be the damning term we know today."

Many people see propaganda as marketing. Many Americans are waking up from a propaganda-induced coma yelling things like, "They lied! They packaged a lie and they sold it to me." Great. Many of these same folks then rant about the evils of propaganda. Their anger is long overdue. But, bashing propaganda strengthens the control of the world's greatest oppressor, our present form of world government, Corporatocracy.

The division between government and corporations is blurry at best and illusory at worst. Evidence of corporate influence on government continues to mount. Corporate contributions to politicians is regularly reported. The payouts appear to extend beyond campaign contributions: in the '05 Halloween issue of The New Yorker James Surowiecki reported that the average portfolio of a Senator grew twelve percent annually, four-times the growth of money managers described as genius for their performance during the same period. The deepest division between government and corporations is in the minds of consumers holding a distinction between propaganda and marketing.

Statements defining marketing as propaganda are regularly dismissed as "merely semantics." This perspective either ignores the meaning of the word semantics or how marketing works.

Semantic adj: of or relating to the study of meaning and changes of meaning; "semantic analysis" (WordNet (r) 2.0, (c) 2003 Princeton University)

Influencing meaning and changes in meaning is the goal of marketing. Behaviors are changed by altering perceptions. When we see things differently we act differently. Beliefs, attitudes and constructions of categories are the primary levers of shifting perception. Marketing manipulates the meaning of symbols, images and associations. Marketing affects changes in meaning or it's not good marketing. Marketing is applied semantics, either actively changing perceptions or staving-off potential changes.

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