Consumer marketing professionals, the same ones who steward the brands of Mazda and RedBull in Colombia, produced this video for the Colombian Ministry of Defense. The video, born of this military-marketing nexus, is from the fourth of five annual campaigns that ran each December between 2010 and 2014. Ostensibly those campaigns targeted individual fighters, however their primary purpose, I argue, has been to rebrand the Colombian armed forces as a benevolent, humanitarian actor. My work tackles this curious assemblage of marketing and counterinsurgency in Colombia, which serves as a laboratory for the U.S. military. In “Target Intimacy,” my essay for the Cultures of Militarism conference, I look specifically at the overlaps between the vision of family relations as they are exploited by the marketized propaganda of the You Are My Child campaign, and the ways in which military intelligence units in Colombia leverage intimate relations (children, parents, siblings, lovers) in their bid to persuade ranking rebels to defect and inform on their former comrades.
You are My Child
Participant: Alex FATTAL
Dept. of Film-Video and Media Studies | Penn State University
Presentation: Mobilizing Desires, Demobilizing Combatants: Consumer Marketing and the Paradox of Individual Demobilization