Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Perp Walk – Just Another Brand Touchpoint

You may have seen photos of accused killer Joran Van der Sloot escorted by Chilean cops. The first thing I noticed – as a mammal attuned to instincts of fight or flight – is how young and swaggery is the Dutch captive in the company of his pudgy, bureaucratic-looking captors. Now what image of Chilean authority does this project?

The Chilean cops are supposed to be strutting around so the world can admire their policing skills. Instead, they look like out-of-shape clerks who forgot their all-weather gear when joining their young boss on a camping trip.

Obviously Brandsinger was not the only one who took notice. Someone in Peru with a brand manager’s eye saw these pictures and thought, “Que passa! Those Chilean cops look like they moonlight as shoe salesmen.” The Peruvian guy wants his country to make a better impression on the world stage... so he makes a call.

A few hours later, when the Peruvians show up to take custody of Joran, it is clear that the prisoner is in the hands of two guys who are always up for a good clubbing.

Look at these cold-blooded crime-fighters. Now Joran appears to be the cowed captive he is. This picture says: You don’t want to screw around with Peruvian national power. Chilean brand managers take note.

Of course, no one orchestrates the intended impression of state power like the NYPD and the FBI. Here’s how we did it stateside when a hapless Somali pirate fell into our clutches.

If the invincible power of the state is what you want to project, this is good branding.



Anonymous said...

That's hilarious. And you're absolutely right. Those very first images you see of captive and captors (played endlessly by the media) set the tone for the whole trial. Do they have their act together? Yes or's all there in the perp walk.

Thomas said...

That's a good point, oh BrandMaster, I hadn't noticed that before. But of course the real brand photo will be the one taken after Van Der Sleeze gets settled into his new life with his large and affectionate cellmate/husband! I can just see those one line ad campaigns now...

"Ever feel like a little girl?"
"Murder can be a pain in the ass!"
"Maybe waterboarding isn't so bad after all..."
"Got Preperation H?"


brandsinger said...

Thanks, guys, for the insights and chuckles.

I hate to conclude that perp-walks are better managed in this country, but it's clear they are. The question is, does a poorly staged perp-walk reflect a corrupt and inefficient judicial system? I leave that to debate.