If you knew that war was avoidable (theoretically) would you be less likely to cause it to happen–more likely to find ways to avoid it? Be more likely to encourage others to find ways to not allow it to happen?

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Click here for original 1995 website

Universal Declaration Against War

WAR IS OVER

If You Want It.

Communication reduces isolation.  Ideas become reality.

There is war in the world now, and  it does not appear reasonable to assume that in the near future there will be no war or no potential for war.  War has been shown to be a routine human phenomenon.  We all know that war is horrible, and most of us would like to believe that at least theoretically, war is avoidable.

Question:  If you knew that war was avoidable (theoretically) would you be less likely to cause it to happen–more likely to find ways to avoid it?  Be more likely to encourage others to find ways to not allow it to happen?

Not everyone realizes that war, all war, is avoidable–not everyone even considers the subject.

Why not advertise for NO WAR?

Consider an organization whose purpose is to promote and educate for peace using standard marketing tools.  In other words, create a marketing group that promotes an image, a focus–that becomes as much a part of the culture as fashion jeans or cigarettes.  If advertisers can sell anything, why not peace?

Consider John & Yoko’s anti-war billboard of the 70’s, “WAR IS OVER, if you want it.”  They placed billboard ads in a few key cities at Christmastime one year during the Vietnam war period.

“BAN THE BOMB”

Can’t a promotion be more effective than the old anti-war slogans of the 60’s?

Advertising is not just the use of simple slogans.  Advertising can be subtle, educational, insidious, funny, even disarming.  We could channel the energy, diversity and persistence of advertising toward the goals of increasing awareness, and manipulating images.  People need to see and understand information in order to change their awareness, and they probably need to see it over and over and over again.

Tell the world, the world is watching.

Can the social, economic and emotional issues that set the stage for war to become possible be identified and spoken to any time we wish?  I think so.

TREAT THE WHOLE WORLD AS THOUGH IT WERE ONE TOWN.

  1. Bring together those people who have the necessary skills including those intimately familiar with a particular country or region, in order to effectively address the issues.
  2. Develop an effective campaign. Market this idea. Select the medium: billboard, bus sign, poster, match cover, radio announcement–a mass market medium that will generate attention and media coverage.
  3. Use press releases; time them strategically and utilize any spin-off publicity.
  4. Maintain a presence over a long period of time.

The objective is to make the issues or messages understandable, eye catching, and as persistent as “COKE IS THE REAL THING”–or Kleenex.  The point is, not to just find the one phrase or image that successfully communicates, but to consider all the ones that work.  Tailor the campaign to an annual cultural event or address a specific political situation or utilize a variety of approaches just to maintain interest.  Is it practical to think that by planting a phrase in someone’s mind, we will surely avoid all wars?  If advertising were that successful, we would find every American driving a brand new car each year.  But some cars get sold.

GOVERNMENTS HAVE BIG BROTHER, CITIZENS CAN TOO.

Messages can be either direct statements as in the phrase “Never Again” or subliminal, using images such as a sexy woman or a celebrity standing next to a car.  They can be stated once or as in the omnipresent and ominously suggestive “Big Brother Is Watching”–be everywhere.  The most successful messages and symbols are felt and do not appear to the observer as issues that can easily be debated or talked back to.

“Ad for Peace”

If there isn’t a  major international outreach organization whose purpose is the use of advertising and publicity to counter war, there should be.  There could at least be a consortium formed by peace and education organizers whose function is to promote no war and aid in educational development.

YOU CAN LICK THEM IF YOU JOIN THEM

Advertising does work, though the net effect of any campaign may be hard to measure and may only be apparent when looking back after a ten year period of feedback–the same way advertising campaigns evaluate.  The bottom line is, as stated in advertisements for the New York State Lottery, “If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.”

War Is Stupid