Guerrilla MarketingCounterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia

Guerrilla MarketingCounterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia

Alexander L. Fattal

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226590509

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Guerrilla Marketing argues that counterinsurgency and marketing have merged together in Colombia. More specifically the book analyzes a government program to persuade FARC guerrillas to defect from the rebel movement while also rebranding the Colombian army as a humanitarian actor. This program in the Ministry of Defense has partnered with Lowe/SSP3, an advertising firm that has managed the brands of Mazda and RedBull in Colombia. The partnership pitches a new life to guerrilla fighters, one as consumer citizens and entrepreneurial subjects. Those who abandon the insurgency’s ranks are coaxed into informing on their former comrades, providing the military valuable strategic and tactical intelligence. The book develops the concept of brand warfare to describe the fusion of counterinsurgency and consumer culture into an affective assemblage that is key to understanding governance in the early twenty-first century. Guerrilla Marketing follows stories from the perspective of former and active guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), military officers, marketers, peace negotiators in Havana, and exiles living in unexpected places, such as rural Sweden. Testimonials, and their accompanying drawings by Colombian artist Lucas Ospina, separate the chapters. In its conclusion the book analyzes the implications for other war-torn countries, criticizing how Colombia has reframed demobilization in a way that weaponizes the peace-building ethos of the policy. The epilogue contemplates the book’s implications for Colombia’s post-peace accord future by analyzing the FARC’s own guerrilla marketing at its tenth and final conference as a guerrilla army.