Naïve Marketing Strategies#4: ‘Academic’ endorsement

More public affairs than marketing this time, but it fits the theme. The Day After Tomorrow’s clearly just a bit of fun, but it’s perfectly legitimate for both sides of the global warming debate to make use of an opportunity to talk about the science of climate change. The film’s telescoped timescales and exaggeration play into the hands of denial, but its interesting to see how poorly equipped businesses like ExxonMobil (Esso) are to put their case.

A prominent denier of global warming is Iain Murray a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He suggested in a recent web chat that we can wait fifty years before we do anything, so not quite the day after tomorrow, but not quite somebody else’s problem either. Murray asks us to have faith in the new technologies that will emerge in that time, so you’d think he’d be a keen advocate of those emerging today. But no, Murray rubbishes green technologies.

So the thoughts of Murray, expanded upon in the ludicrously named ‘Edge of England’s Sword’ blog are clearly inconsistent and contradictory. This may initially surprise given that he’s a senior fellow. We expect more from successful academics.

But Murray is not a successful academic. His biog reveals a ‘respectable’ classics degree and an MBA, but nothing that would get his name in a peer reviewed academic journal and certainly nothing to qualify him to lead a serious research project looking at climate change. Neither is the Competitive Enterprise Institute worth having on your résumé. Proud to have been founded in some guy’s kitchen barely twenty years ago, the CEI is not an academy, but a home to polemical journalism.

It’s a PR ruse. Murray approaches big CO2 producing industries and says, ‘Hey guys! We don’t think CO2’s that bad. But we need money to spread the word.’ ExxonMobil coughed up and Murray set-up a Cooler Heads Coalition to spread the wait-fifty-years-for-technologies-we’re-nowhere-near-developing-yet message.

All this banter around Murray’s pretending to be an academic splashes back on his sponsor, enhancing the impression held in so many quarters that they’re dodgy-dealers. Meanwhile ExxonMobil – and others – employ real scientists, so why not put them up for debate, cutting out the dodgy looking middleman and presenting an honest case? They could say, ‘Yes, we’re an oil company – proud of it – and no we don’t think we’re destroying the planet’. Then they could put a robust argument, in their own name, developed by working scientists with science degrees. People would respond to that far better and have more respect for that kind of myth-buster than for a spin doctor held at arms length. But I’ve an inkling global warming’s no myth.
There’s a reliable guide to the global warming debate here.
Films in 50 words-ish: The Day After Tomorrow
Naïve Marketing Strategies#3: McDonald’s Salads Plus……Naïve Marketing Strategies#5: Pet owners aren’t simple

Leave a Reply