Whether it’s domestic, global, or on your social media feed, it’s hard to ignore the fact that theatrical terrorism and hateful outrage has penetrated into the 21st century ideological marketplace like never before. Why is that?
Research shows that along with the traditional terrorism PR playbook, the overly-complicated modern marketing and advertising ecosystem has created perfect, murky conditions for hate to flourish, proliferate, and economically thrive online.
Terrorism is essentially concerned with marketing and promoting violent/hateful political ideologies in ways that minimize resources and maximize attention.
Typically small and state-less entities, terrorists cannot traditionally garner any political recognition on the world stage, so they opt for small, extremely violent acts that focus the world’s attention on their agenda.
Along with traditional media and PR avenues, today’s terrorists have discovered how to troll & manipulate social media, hijack adtech, crypto, and the overly-complicated modern digital marketing ecosystem to create online havens and hatcheries for their piece of shit fanaticism.
Just me being crazy. Nah…
There have been plenty of articles written about this link between terrorism and marketing, (linked at the bottom and above) how ad fraud helps terrorist launder money, how social media and algorithms radicalize people; but there hasn’t been any meaningful attention or action on the part of the marketing industry to curb this or intervene in anyway.
Inspired by the concept of Useful Fiction, which author Peter Singer describes as “working at the intersection of strategic foresight, technology discovery, and narrative…” I asked myself; “who would ever agree to help a terrorist organization with their marketing strategy?”
And so, I’m proud to present; “ROI or Die!” a ‘choose your own adventure’ story about a marketer that is kidnapped by a terrorist organization and forced to handle their marketing strategy.
Hopefully, the story gets the marketing and advertising industry thinking about ways to confront and disrupt terrorism, online hate, and prevent dangerous ideological concepts from gaining access to the general market.
Below are links to insightful books, helpful articles, and important organizations working to both combat terrorism and bring attention to the fraudulent and abusive practices hidden in the complex modern ideological marketing ecosystem.
Research into marketing & terrorism:
- How terrorism and theatrics are linked -> https://www.jstor.org/stable/30026642
- Marketing Terrorism and Fear -> http://outlookafghanistan.net/topics.php?post_id=6601
- Terrorists use marketing skills to lure recruits -> https://theconversation.com/terrorists-use-marketing-skills-to-attract-new-recruits-online-39497
- Disinformation: 101 -> https://twitter.com/CogSec/status/1355093943612923905
- How bitcoins and social media help raise terrorist money -> https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/global-disruption-three-terror-finance-cyber-enabled-campaigns
- Money Laundering, Tax Evasion, Terrorism with digital advertising -> https://www.forbes.com/sites/augustinefou/2021/01/01/digitalmoney-laundering-tax-evading-terrorist-fundingadvertising/?sh=35e22d0f32cc – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/laundromat-called-digital-advertising-ad-fraud-investigator/
- Major brands funding terror groups online through ads -> https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/brands-accused-funding-terror-groups-online-ads/1423717
- Social media propaganda terror financiers operate on the internet -> https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/18/social-media-propaganda-terror-financiers-operate-on-internet.html
- Texas ad agency, Harris Media, works directly with far right party in Germany ->
Check My Ads – An awesome site run by Nandini Jammi & Claire Atkin, helping marketers understand the modern marketing ecosystem, disrupt ad fraud, and maximize their budgets by working with sites and publishers they trust.
Fou Analytics – Another amazing site, run by Dr. Augustine Fou, helping educate marketers about better ad buys, stronger strategies, and ways ad fraud is used by criminals to launder money, disrupt society, etc.
UN Office of Counter Terrorism – The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.