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This article from AdAge looks at the US Army-sponsored locally produced poster campaign to win hearts and minds and encourage citizenship and… well.. its not clear exactly what its trying to encourage, and whether the campaign really understands its target market… but its an interesting if not slightly surreal case study nonetheless.

Outdoor, TV and radio ads starring cuddly babies and folkloric warriors are spreading across Afghanistan, a country that’s seen so little advertising that finding a local agency was one of the first hurdles of mounting a campaign. But the U.S.-backed push is using insights into traditional Afghan culture to try to encourage a war-ravaged population to help build a more peaceful nation.

The soldier-marketer behind the effort, Lt. Col. Allen McCormick, is deploying the marketing expertise he gained at Procter & Gamble and other U.S. companies to target Afghan citizens.

“The [U.S.] military does two of three things well — they know who they want to reach and what they want to say, but they don’t know how to say it,” said Mr. McCormick, who is chief of information operations and psychological operations (PSYOP) for the U.S.’s combined joint task force in eastern Afghanistan.”

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