Most people understand just how sleazy the defense industry can be–both its products and its marketing. But just in case you needed any further convincing, Boeing’s joint partner, Bell Helicopter, released this ad which ran in the National Journal before being yanked by Bell (after Boeing told them to).
The ad copy states:
“It descends from the heavens. Ironically, it unleashes hell.”
And in fine print it says:
“Before you hear it, you see it. By the time you see it, it’s too late. The CV-22 delivers Special Forces to insertion points never thought possible. It flies faster. It flies farther. It flies quieter. Consider it a gift from above.”
Just in case any of you missed it, that’s a mosque pictured in the ad. Do I hear “Muslim-hater,” anyone? I just wish Karen Hughes was going to the Mideast now. Everyone in her audience should hold up an image of this ad and ask her what the hell’s going on in her country that makes them hate Muslims so.
Also, interesting to note about the ad is that it’s all smoke and mirrors. The special ops troops were rappeling from a helicopter (not the Osprey) in the original photograph. Some really smart ad exec thought up the idea of introducing the mosque using photo editing. I wonder if this botched image is any indication of what we can expect from the real Osprey? Will it be as botched a weapons system as the ad is? Yet another thought, the Osprey is named for a a bird that can actually fly! Too bad the plane doesn’t seem to do that very well (see below)…
Boeing, Bell, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems jointly sponsored the ad according to Brand Repubilc. The ad was created by an Irving, TX firm, TM Advertising (by the way, this is one of the most whacked out/testosterone-filled/over-the-top websites I’ve ever visited–how anyone can get any information about the firm from it is beyond me), of which BrandRepublic had this to say:
TM Advertising is fast establishing a reputation for crass advertising. A previous ad for Bell’s AH-1Z attack helicopter showed the heavily armed aircraft taking off out of a flaming background. The copy read: “We made it beautiful. Because it’s the last thing that some people will ever see.”
Call it the ‘tough love’ school (or is it ‘tough hate’?) of defense industry marketing.
I love this “it wasn’t my fault” response from a Bell executive as reported in the Seattle Times:
Mike Cox, a Bell vice president, said the ad was developed by TM Advertising of Irving, Texas, and then initially released for publication by his company.
“The bottom line is that the [Bell] people who approved this didn’t have authority to approve it,” Cox said.
So Bell has a marketing department and this department approved the ad for publication. But the marketing department didn’t have authority to do so? Then who did? This is beyond pathetic. Mike, you guys made a big boo boo. Take your medicine like a man (or should I say “person”?). Don’t make stupid excuses. It makes you look even worse than you already do.
The ad ran in the Armed Forces Journal (for a Pentagon audience) and the National Journal (for a Congressional audience). It was designed to promote the C-22 Osprey, a troubled weapons program if ever there was one (including three fatal accidents which closed down the program for periods of time). Here’s what the New York Times had to say about it:
The Osprey has the notoriety of having suffered three fatal crashes in test flights, leading to the deaths of 30 people, 26 of them Marines.
Still, the Marines are determined, and they see the Osprey as crucial to their mission in the world. ”It won’t be long before everyone wants one of these,” said Col. Daniel Schultz, the V-22 program manager. ”It’s the promise of the future,” he added.
It is a future that some people hope never comes. Critics remain convinced that the Osprey’s design is too complicated and inherently flawed, that the craft is being pushed into production without adequate testing and that it is simply too dangerous and too expensive.
Philip E. Coyle III, a senior adviser at the Center for Defense Information, a military research group in Washington said, ”When they’re [the Marines] overly committed to a program like this, they can end up looking foolish as well as killing people.”
Just last May, the General Accounting Office offered its own criticisms. It said the Osprey program ”plans to enter full-rate production without ensuring that the manufacturing processes are mature” and that Osprey production continues with inadequate assessments.
But critics fear that the passion of its supporters and the weight of history will keep moving the project along. Chris Hellman, a director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a research group in Washington said, ”My problems with the Osprey remain. The V-22 has gotten to the point where so much money has gone into it, it will probably go ahead regardless.”
Helluva military gadget for some Marine general to play with, huh? By the way, your Pentagon just announced (according to the Times) that it approved spending an additional $19-billion of your tax dollars on this sinkhole of a project.