Friday, April 29, 2005

I have decided to write something, but do not have a particular topic in mind...

So I guess I'll just have to rant. This will of course be an enormous leap from my highly structured and pointed usual essays, but all one can do is try.

Now here are the options. I can either review another movie, the Korean blockbuster TaeGukGi, or I can discuss what I have learned so far about sales and marketing... Or even better I can do both, though the topics are not in the least bit interconnected, and not even I can connect them with some twisted logical leap.

So, TaeGukGi is a Korean war movie about (yes you guessed it) the Korean War. It follows the story of two brothers who were both drafted into the South Korean army against their will. The elder brother, an uneducated shoeshine boy (not really a boy), tries to protect his younger sibling and tries through heroic deeds to find a way to send his student brother away from the war. Over time he basically turns into a Korean Rambo whereby commie bullets and bombs seem to basically curl out of his path. He becomes drunk on the glory of his battle achievements and estranged from his idealistic younger brother. I am not going to bore you with the rest of the details of this movie, except to say that the ending, though predictable, is still sad, which I must say is refreshing compared to the endings of most American movies. The brutal war scenes are reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, but this movie I would say is better in the way it portrays not just the cruel randomness of war, but in portraying the effects that war has on the nature of men.

The movie leaves neither the communist North or the South morally clean or superior and shows the brutality of both sides. The idea of 'at war as in war' is foreign to Hollywood, but seems to find a home in many of the scenes of this movie, in spite of the moralizing of some of the characters. Overall I would say that this movie is an excellent one and should be seen by every person in Washington. Maybe they will start fewer wars and understand that if you are going to send armed forces to a conflict you can not expect to have a clean war; there will always be civilian casualties and other eventualities of war...

On a side note it should be remembered that the Korean War did not officially end. There is currently a cease-fire in place which could be broken any moment. The ROK (South Korea) has a well-trained standing army of 700,000. It has a reserve force of 5,000,000. If anyone is counting, they will see that the South Koreans can mobilize a bigger army than the United States has. If the South Korean army is anything like the Israeli then important reserves could be mobilized within 72 hours. Current projections state that South Korea and the US would have 3-10 days of advance warning of a North Korean attack. This means that North Korea would be attacking a South Korean force that numbers at least several million in a country where mountains make mobile warfare essentially impossible assuring that any North Korean effort to attack would probably stall within several days. At the same time South Korea would achieve complete air and naval superiority and with the help of the US airforce can seriously damage North Korean forces massing in the narrow mountain valleys that make up Korea. Given half the inclination it seems that the South Koreans would be able to defend themselves without any American aid. Why are US forces still in Korea?

Now off to the magical land of sales and marketing to those that have too much already.. So far here are my notes:

Sales focus
- Affluent customers want recognition of achievements/expertise
- Don't tell people how good your goods are tell them how good your gods make them.
- Tell how your products improve life, love, wealth, health, career, looks, security or leisure.
- Present Problems / Offer Solutions.
- Confidence in a business is the top determinant of a sale, not quality.

Customer Lists
- Develop a customer list.
- Preferrably create a customer club.
- Constant sales and discounts make for unhealthy customer lists.

Printed materials
- Every aspect must inspire confidence.
- The headline is 90% of an ad. If they are not stopped by the headline they will never read the rest.
- Present sufficient stats and information to convince.

- In mailed materials use 8 stamps rather than 1.
- Use postcards as they are already opened.
- Reuse artwork.

Media for ads
- Post on public bulletin boards.
- Classified ads.
- Direct marketing coupon books.



Anonymous Mysterious Stranger said...

On the topic of the Korean stand-off, isn't there a large force of long-range artillery permanently massed on the North Korean side of the DMZ, and aren't they within range of Seoul?

If so, then 72 hours is definitely not enough time to prevent massive (unacceptable?)loss of life in South Korea. Therefore, it seems that there needs to exist a preemptive strike capability, which would enable the South to neutralize a large, though mostly stationary force just north of the DMZ. And, I am just theorizing here, perhaps South Korea is wary of stationing a strike force on the border, for fear of provoking the North, rendering the "proxy" American contingent necessary...

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Mysterious Stranger said...

On the naming front, try to compile a list of all words that positively relate to safety, and then try combining them in pleasant-sounding ways: safe-alert, secure-confidential, protection-assured, reliable-safety, etc...

8:00 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

As far as Korea goes, the North Koreans do have massed artillery on their side of the border. At the same time the South Koreans will have undisputed air superiority over all of Korea. If you want preemptive strike capability, there is no better place to possess it than in the air.

The North Koreans can cause massive loss of life just by using their artillery on Seoul. At the same time their military will probably not be capable of breaking through the massive defensive structures in the DMZ and south of it. In any case the massive loss of life would be the result of any North Korean attack, with or without 29,000 US troops on the DMZ. The US troops on the border would be of marginal use in the initial phase of an NK attack and this is admitted by the US. The only purpose of these troops is to function as a tripwire to ensure significant American involvement (roughly 600,000 front-line troops of questionable existence) in case of a war. This should technically deter the North Koreans from launching a war. However this is where the logic stops. Based on recent US actions and rhetoric in the rest of the world, it is the US that is implicitly threatening North Korea, not the other way around. Thus the presence of US troops on the DMZ in Korea is more likely to increase tensions than downplay them.

This isn't 1953 when South Korea was a poor third world country facing another poor third world country which had only several years before invaded, possessed a stronger military, had superpower backing from the Russians and massive reserves in the form of the Chinese. South Korea has twice the population, many multiples more resources, superpower backing and a well-trained and equipped standing army and a massive reserve force. The North Koreans have no airforce, few resources, and no external backing. The South Koreans need US aid only for a massive counterattack to eliminate North Korea as an entity, not for defense. The US presence is thus destabilizing to say the least.

And btw, there are many, many South Korean forces on the DMZ. The Americans are a minor aspect in its defense.


7:00 PM  

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