Ignorant Marketing - an international problem

A few years ago here in Australia, Telstra, the country's largest telecommunications carrier, put out a controversial television advertisement showing how wonderful they were.

The advertisement focused upon some severe flooding that afflicted some part of Australia (probably western New South Wales). There was footage of rooftops sticking up through floodwaters, people splashing through flooded streams and damage done to power and phone lines.

The idea of the ad was to show how wonderful Telstra was in fixing up all the problems associated with the flood. I can't remember the specifics, but the message was clear - Telstra will come through quickly and efficiently during a national disaster.

The controversy surrounded some footage that the TV advertisement used. In one section, a woman is seen splashing through raging floodwaters towards the camera, which was filming from inside a helicopter hovering over the water. The entire thing lasted probably 2 seconds.

What was the problem?

1. The footage was actually from a flood in America.
2. The woman pictured never made it to the helicopter, and eventually drowned.

The fact that Telstra would use footage that was not from the flood being depicted was bad enough. The fact that they used footage of a woman who eventually drowned made the situation intolerable. When news of this mistake was reported, Telstra quickly removed the ad from circulation.

I'm mentioning all this because there is now some controversy in Russia.

The BBC is reporting that official posters commemorating Russian War Veterans prominently features a World War 2 American Battleship - the USS Missouri.

The mistake was made within the marketing department. You can imagine the people sitting there making the decision and one person saying "well I think this ship makes the poster look 20% more aggressive and 15% more patriotic". The graphic designer, present in the meeting, would have said "But... I only used that ship as a way of comparison. It's not a Russian ship - it's an American battleship," The Marketers would have then scoffed and said "Who cares? No one will notice!"

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