ricardo dominguez on Fri, 20 Jul 2001 18:29:58 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Leaked Memo Reveals WTO Plan to "Sell" Itself tovAmerican Youth

>From Billionaires' Listserv:

Leaked Memo Reveals WTO Plan to "Sell" Itself to
American Youth 

Deanna Swift, AlterNet
July 17, 2001

Geneva -- Ever since the disastrous "Battle of
Seattle" in 1999, the World Trade Organization has
been trying to remake its image, trading in the
persona of global tyrant for that of a "hip," "with
it" agent of change. The group's efforts took a
bizarre turn today with the unauthorized release of a
memo outlining a sophisticated WTO public relations
campaign intended to win the support of American

The memo, leaked to the Swiss newspaper, Le Matin, was
prepared by the American marketing firm Y Not, Inc.,
which specializes in advertising campaigns aimed at 12
to 19-year-olds. Entitled "Positive Anarchy," the
document lays out a detailed plan for selling the WTO
brand to American youth through merchandising, product
placement and so-called guerilla marketing. 

News of the plan has some of the WTO's more
straight-laced supporters shaking their heads. "I
don't think that this so-called spin is the answer to
our problems," said Hans Dieter Sprecht, director of
International Trade for the Deutsche Bundesbank. "The
WTO should be focusing more on security issues,
including security at its own meetings." 

Critics of the WTO immediately condemned the
organization. "We think it's despicable that the World
Trade Organization would aim its propaganda campaign
at children," said Fiona Lippman-Suarez, a
spokesperson for the London-based activist group
Global Justice Watch. "Then again, what can you expect
from an organization that thinks it's fine for
4-year-olds to make footballs and carpets?" 

The embarrassing revelation comes at a particularly
awkward time for the WTO, which is preparing to launch
its fourth ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in
November. Just last month, the organization released a
pamphlet entitled "10 Common Misunderstandings About
the WTO," responding to criticism by
anti-globalization protesters. 

The WTO denied any knowledge of the public relations
memo, "Positive Anarchy," the full text of which
appears below. 


Campaign Plan for "Positive Anarchy" 

Privileged and Confidential
Subject to Attorney-Client Privilege
Attorney Work Product 


July 2, 2001 

To: WTO Youth Action Working Group 

From: Y NOT, Inc. 

Re: Strategic Youth Campaign 


First the problem: the World Trade Organization faces
significant obstacles in its efforts to bring its
message to the 12 to 19-year-old demographic.
Non-interest, lack of information and misinformation
all remain significant problems. Furthermore, polling
data continues to skew substantially towards the
competitor "brand," called here "Anti." 

Now the solution: using detailed polling information
provided by Teen Data, Inc., we think we can begin to
create a meaningful WTO "brand" experience for the
teen demographic. The key to our efforts will be to
reach the so-called "unaffiliateds," that part of the
demographic that has no information about the WTO
"brand" and as a result, has yet to form any kind of
negative opinions. By targeting this sub-demographic
through grassroots messaging, guerilla marketing and
subversive affirmation, we believe we can realize
significant market share for the WTO "brand." 

1. Subversive Affirmation: the On-Air Strategy
Our polling data from Teen Data, Inc. indicates that
72% of the 12 to 19 year-old demographic receives
news-type information from late night television and
comedy shows. Obtaining positive "brand" coverage
through these media is our best bet for reaching the
audience. * Note: polling data shows that while there
is significant awareness of "Anti" (63% of teen boys,
74% of teen girls), the demographic is already
experiencing pronounced fatigue with the "Anti"
"brand." 49% of the mixed demographic said they were
"ready for something new." 

We recommend the following media strategies: 

- Team up with professional comedy writers to produce
comic material relating to the "Anti" competitor
"brand." Discussions are underway with the Daily Show,
Conan O'Brien and Saturday Night Live. 

- Create a visible presence around the WTO "brand."
Focus groups responded positively to Mike Moore as
spokesman, with 39% indicating an "above average
willingness to listen" when Moore was on camera.
Discussions about placing Moore on late night shows
are ongoing -- no concrete results yet -- although
Charlie Rose has reportedly expressed some interest. 

- Take advantage of daytime openings. 37% of the
demographic indicated that they regularly record
daytime shows for later viewing. Of this sub-demo, 72%
watch the Jerry Springer show. We are currently
negotiating with Springer's producers over a proposed
"brand" showdown in which a young female representing
the WTO "brand" would face-off against a young male
representing "Anti." 

- Recruit model/spokespersons. Polling indicates that
"Anti" has benefited significantly from association
with high profile musicians/actors. (Note: 43% of teen
girls identified U2 singer Bono as related to "Anti"
"brand.") Through a third party, Y NOT, Inc. initially
approached actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar and Tara
Reid about serving as spokespersons for the WTO
"brand," but made little headway. We have since been
approached by a representative of Kevin Costner, but
aren't convinced that he is "brand" appropriate. 

2. Guerilla Marketing
Of teens reporting fatigue with the "Anti" "brand,"
46% focused on "Anti" merchandise including puppets,
bandannas and gas-masks. The relatively static nature
of "Anti" "brand" merchandise creates the opportunity
for the WTO "brand" to effectively compete for market
share by introducing its own product line. 

- Work with Teen Data's Trend-Setter division to
identify coming trends in teen fashion and mark said
merchandise with WTO "brand." Note: all garments must
be made in USA or include "sweatshop free" label. We
don't want to set ourselves up for that one! 

- Explore product placement possibilities. The
expanded Reality TV niche presents exciting
opportunities for product placement, including WTO
"brand" merchandise. Note: discussions with Mark
Burnett about placing WTO product in Survivor 3:
Africa have been extremely positive, although still at
the exploratory stage. 

- Utilize one-to-one teen marketing. 83% of the
demographic reported that they are "most likely to
take information seriously if it comes from other
teens, which means that the most effective marketers
of the WTO "brand" are teens themselves. We are
currently working on customizing the guerrilla
marketing strategies of Big Fat, Inc.
(bigfatpromo.com) for the WTO "brand." This highly
effective method utilizes trend-setting teen marketers
who sell product to their own demographic while
keeping their own affiliations hidden. 

3. Image Cultivation
Even teens who failed to identify the meaning of "WTO"
(note: 81%) still associated the "brand" with negative
imagery. When asked if they would be likely to
purchase "WTO" product, 32% responded "extremely
unlikely," while 27% responded "unlikely." Asked what
would make the WTO "brand" more appealing, 39% of this
group suggested either rearranging the brand logo or
selecting a replacement logo. Based on this data, we
recommend the following: 

- Adopt embedded marketing strategy. Teen marketing
research shows that teens may respond positively to
marketing symbols used in association with formerly
unpopular brands. Utilizing this strategy, the WTO
"brand" would be replaced by a symbol or logo that
teens consider more appealing. Note: in focus groups,
59% of teens reported that they would consider
purchasing WTO product if associated with friendly
talking frog. 

- Consider reconfiguring product logo. Teens who
responded negatively to both WTO "brand" and "World
Trade Organization" responded less negatively when
letters were said to stand for something else (World
Time Out or We Think Off-Beat were both presented to
focus groups.). Possibilities are obviously limited
within the current logo-scope. Consider using other

- Pursue "truth in marketing" strategy. 76% of teens
surveyed said that they have "high respect" or "some
respect" for "brands" that "do what they say they are
going to do." Utilizing "truth" strategy also presents
significant opportunity to erase some market share
currently dominated by "Anti" "brand." 62% of teen
focus group participants reported that they would "be
interested in trying" a "brand" that 1) eliminated
Third World debt or 2) provided free drugs to people
suffering from AIDS or 3) got rid of sweatshops. Just
a thought.  

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