The United States know the power of ridicule all too well.
In 1948, the U.S. distributed a film to Italy called Ninotchka. The film starring Greta Garbo poked fun at life in Russia.
After seeing the film many Italians changed their vote in the Italian general elections from the Communist party to the Christian Democrats.
Al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi lost his aura of invincibility in 2006 when the U.S. military released raw outtakes of a captured video showing the terrorist chief to be a befuddled bumbler who didn’t know how to operate a machine gun.
Dictators, terrorists, and totalitarians cannot tolerate being laughed at. Ridicule is a robust underground phenomenon in any society.
In Venezuela, women stripped off their pants and threw them at riot police, taunting the young men to “man up” and put them on. Jeering crowds laughed and chanted for them to “wear some pants.” Once the public could make fun of the repressive regime,everyone knew the police state’s time was running out.
The Soviet leadership is so fearful of humor the KGB have a Department of Jokes. It's a sub unit of their political enforcement section designated to prevent jokes spreading about the state.
Recently, the Russian authorities encouraged musicians to upload pop videos to Youtube which ridiculed the anti-government protesters. Alisa Vox uploaded a video which scorned the protesters over mispelt placards.
And rapper Platkha likened young Russian protesters to 'rich brats on lamp posts'. A reference to the lamp posting protesters in Red Square.
If ridicule works for governments and for their opponents would it work for brands?
Could a brand move an audience closer to a purchase by humiliating them?
Would commuters carrying Apple phones be photographed and instantly converted in to an image of a sheep on Samsung's digital posters with baa baa sounds bleating from nearby speakers?
Would drivers caught texting have to change their car number plate to: TWAT.? (Texter Who's A Tosspot)
Would Gillette appoint welly wearing fisherman as bouncers at hipster night clubs in front of neon signs that say, Beardies. Comb out the maggots or you're not coming in?
Would Ambre Solaire erect pop up cinema seats in front of sleeping sunbathers on Spanish beaches and invite an audience to watch The British Idiot, with a live kazoo orchestra ?
Would Mcdonalds hire a bunch of Ronald Mcdonald clowns to flash mob Burger King and taunt the staff and customers with derisory chants?
No, of course they wouldn't. That would be too ridiculous.
The views of this blog do not reflect in any way the opinions of my employer. They do, however, reflect the views of Harry the hedgehog who lives in my shed.