More propaganda please

'All for the sake of peace'

Having employees describe your internal communication channels as ‘propaganda’ is not normally considered a good thing. However, after a visit to the British Museum in London I’ve had cause to think again.

You see, it’s only since the First World War that the term ‘propaganda’ has taken on the more sinister connotations that it has today. And in Asia, there has remained a more “impartial or nuanced view” of this form of communication.

This is according to Mary Ginsberg, guest curator of the museum’s current exhibition, ‘The art of influence: Asian propaganda’. These works explore Asian propaganda of the visual kind. The connections with modern day and Western use of images within the communications industry are obvious to see. Ginsberg says the “main point of propaganda – and propaganda art – is to create involvement.”

The art of visual story telling, and change narratives, are commonplace tools within our companies and organisations. For inspiration, turn to the poster above, entitled ‘All for the Sake of Peace’. This was produced in Vietnam in 1972, and shows tanks being transformed into tractors: military equipment converted for peaceful production. This vivid image is about as simple as you can get, but the hopeful change message is crystal clear.

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