George Parker: Take My Country… Please, Take My Country!

George Parker: Take My Country… Please, Take My Country!

George Parker is the perpetrator of Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

George Parker
  • 13 april 2010

If you consider that the basic premise of advertising is to make you buy something you may very well have never considered you need (and don’t give me all that shit about branding and friending and starting conversations) and in far too many instances, you probably can’t afford… Then pushing detergents and burgers is bad enough… But, flogging a war… That’s really tough.

However, it would seem that the US is currently engaged in an ad campaign throughout Afghanistan to encourage the hip-hop loving population of that unfortunate country to support our efforts to bring them democracy and the right to buy two hundred dollar sneakers and drive around in boom box equipped Escalades without getting their hands chopped off. This effort is being managed by an army Lt. Col. McCormick, who you guessed it, used to be a marketing dude at Proctor & Gamble in a previous life. So, can we look forward to a “Please squeeze the poppies” campaign? Apparently not. Instead we get lots of stuff about the Afghan army being the warrior guardians of your brothers and sisters and how they will fight with honor and compassion (You can see them here.) There’s also a campaign featuring babies that talks about the “New Afghanistan” and how these kids are going to grow up and be doctors and drug barons (OK- I just made that last one up to encourage hate mail.) As you would expect, all the kids are male, ‘cos babies don’t look as cute in a burqua. Funnily enough, all the ads are in English… Must be ready for the award shows.

Propaganda is not new, ask Goebbels, and look how he ended up! But why is it that most governments, and particularly the US, do it so badly? For a start, all the Afghan ads were focus grouped… Yeah they fucking focus grouped this stuff in Afghanistan. If the moderator didn’t like the answers, he chopped your hands off (Yeah, I know, I made that up too.) But I’ll bet instead of M&M’s and peanuts, the attendees got hash or something comparably yummie.

Remember Karen Hughes? She was the propaganda Czarina for Bush. Tasked with bringing the message of democracy to the Muslim world, she went to Saudi Arabia and organized meetings with Saudi ladies where she explained that pretty soon America would bring them the freedom buy two hundred dollar sneakers and drive around in boom box equipped Escalades without getting their hands chopped off… They told her to fuck off.

Before Karen, there was Charlotte Beers, ex-Chairman of JWT, and a lovely lady. She had millions of brochures printed up explaining democracy, baseball and apple pie. These were handed out on the streets of various Arab capitals… And yes, they were printed in English.

Even the Romans used propaganda, If it didn’t work, they didn’t chop your hands off… They crucified you. Who needs focus groups?

George Parker is a guest columnist for He is the perpetrator of, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture october 21, 2016

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail october 21, 2016

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Related Expert

Elon Musk

Solar Power, Battery Technology, Sustainability

Travel october 21, 2016

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment october 21, 2016

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI october 21, 2016

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 20, 2016

Wearable Tech Expert: Designing Technology To Empower Connection To Ourselves

Billie Whitehouse, Founder of Wearable Experiments, shares her new vision for the quantified self

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Millennials october 21, 2016

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out

Food october 21, 2016

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising october 21, 2016

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Work october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

Retail october 21, 2016

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children october 21, 2016

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants october 21, 2016

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology october 21, 2016

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

No search results found.