lacks Brand Equity. The reason why we ventured into Kosovo, but
didn't go into Bosnia-Herzegovina, has less to do with foreign policy
and more to do with Brand Equity. What is the core essence? How
does it tie in to the current product line of crisis offerings in
the Middle East or Korean Peninsula? Who the hell can pronounce
the place anyway? We can't have news anchors with blown-dry hair
stumbling over "BOZZ KNEE A HEARSE I A GOOV EEN AHH" every night
on TV. But "Kosova" is simple. It even echoes the hard "k" sounds
of Coca-Cola and K-Mart. What better brand name allusions can you
have? Now this we can explain. You can sell THAT to the American
People! Sure, some pundits think that the State Department just
muddled its way through the Dayton Peace Accords. But was Bosnia-Herzegovina
capable of harnessing a strong degree of consumer brand awareness
and consumer brand recall? Obviously not. But Kosovo is clear-cut,
simple, has that certain spark, and just has a nice ring on the
nightly news. Around Foggy Bottom, most are mum in regard to the
notion that issues of State could be based on Madison Avenue focus
groups. "Does this have a stronger market 'stick rate' than last
night's riot in Londonderry?" "Will it get knocked off the pre-Weather/Sports
Rotation on the 10:00 telecast by a three-alarm fire or a five car
pile-up on the highway?" Questions not asked when the tape recorder
is running. On pressing this issue with media relations, one realizes
that it is easier to find the exact location in the Utah dessert
where the Air Force stores its anthrax-loaded missiles than it is
to get anyone in the State Department to admit to BEAST. (Brand
Equity Assessment Status Taskforce). There is a steel curtain of
silence that makes the Berlin Wall of 1962 seem like a sieve. It
is only by searching abroad that the puzzle pieces start to stick
together. British Parliament backbencher, Sir Nigel Ian Roundbuttom-Toppimtumdun,
who hails from the village of Horsefeathers-upon-the-Northerwane,
was less than reticent. Bounced from the limelight by Tony Blair,
and near retirement, he speaks in a flourish of rhetoric followed
by long quiet pulls on his pipe. "You Yanks!" he blurted, when pressed
on the issue. "What a bloody awful nuisance to get some proper action
from the coalition with this recent Balkan balls-up. The promotion
department in the CIA has to get clearance from the Brand/Logo Oversight
Committee. The Alliteration and Locution Office in the State Department
has to put in their two pence worth. 'Bosnia-Herzegovina?' 'NO.'
'Kosovo?' 'YES.' Everything has to have an easy play on the ears.
won't even talk to a Radovan Karadzic. As for Slobodan Milosevic,
well, you're forced to deal with him. But the most I can ever get
is: 'Slobo on line 2.' It's a wonder we ever went to war at all!"
He stared wistfully out the stained glass windows of his office
and took another sip of lunchtime sherry. "I'm glad that we didn't
have to deal with you Yanks in the 1840's when we had that little
dust-up at the frontier posts of Firozpur and Ludhiana in the Punjab!"
on this side of the pond, a staff member for a ranking Senator on
the Foreign Relations Committee, who spoke off the record under
the condition of anonymity, would neither confirm nor deny the existence
of the Brand/Logo Oversight Committee, let alone the Alliteration
and Locution Office. Yet when the staffer was directly asked the
question, this reporter did notice his/her eyebrow twitch.
existence of BEAST may explain some of our past action in various
regional conflicts. There are strong indications that these departments
have been with us a long time. What was with Reagan and Grenada?
Was he just looking for a decent vacation spot for retirement or
was this the result of a brilliant alliteration play on "Granola"
and "Gatorade" to tie in the huge target audience of the athletic
and health conscious? Ask Walter Mondale how well he did with the
more importantly, the question that remains is what does this portend
for future global "dust-ups?" What about Taiwan/Exxon? Does Argentina
have anything to worry about from Brazil and an expanding Amazon.com?
If Martha Stewart can team up with BUD-wize-ER to launch a new lite
beer for the Hamptons, imagine what can be done to bring together
the squabbling tribes in KURD-iz-TAN? Perhaps what is
needed is just a simple visit with a focus group for a makeover.
Tell me if this flys. "BOZNEE-HERZO." Granted, a tad too elaborate,
but then a little bit of exotic spice-- something just a pinch out
of the ordinary?... Look at "Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat."
How about "Boznee-Herzo, where the Balkans come to meet!"?
an infusion of talent and capital is needed. Disney can create a
movie: "Ivan-- the Brave Shepherd Boy." McDonalds can open 4,312
new locations and launch the McBOZburger. Film commercials for Sports
Utility Vehicles splashing through muddy puddles on rugged Balkan
mountain roads. Now THAT can play for the vital Saturday afternoon
football crowd this Fall!