Problem

Empty slogans and mottoes

Other Names:
Unmeaningful public pronouncements
Nature:
Both in ideological or political rhetoric, and in commercial and institutional advertising and public relations, a word, phrase or image may be used to convince the public that they should associate the virtues expressed in the motto, slogan, device, trademark, emblem or symbol, with its propagator and possessor. Frequently there is no connection between the virtue or essential meaning put across by such propaganda and the person, products, cause, country or organization advertised.
Incidence:
'Democracy' in expressing the legitimacy of a government, is constantly used in propaganda as an exoneration; and accusations are frequently made labelling opposing ideologies and systems 'undemocratic' or 'anti-democratic'. During the 20th century 'democracy' has come to encompass not only considerations of political equality but also social and economic equality. In being so stretched it has come to include any political regime or system which considers itself legitimate, despite the possible use of repression and the manipulation of voting methods.

Theriomorphic symbols such as bears, bulls, eagles, elephants, fighting cocks and hissing serpents, for example, may be used to express the supposed ferocity of political movements and nations and their martial prowess; while the sign of peaceful doves may be used by revolutionaries dedicated to violence. Pictures of healthy, outdoor-type persons are used to sell tobacco, and there are status symbols built into many products - such as gold trim. As for corporations, IBM employed the word 'think' but imposed conformity on its employees; ITT had 'the best ideas to help people', as it 'helped' in Chile; and Ford spoke of 'quality' as it recalled cars for manufacturing defects.

Related Problems:
Indoctrination by repetition
Strategies:
Using slogans
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET