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Gandhi and Persuasion

Aug 21, 2007 Gandhi and Persuasion

From time to time, commercials acknowledge consumers’ social conscience. McDonald’s, Coca Cola and HandiWipes may not be among such commercial producers, but Telecom Italia is such a marketer.

Displayed above is a powerful commercial pondering the additional persuasion power that would have been Gandhi’s if today’s myriad communications technologies were available to him. Of course, before the Internet, IPods, cellphones, Discpeople/Walkpeople, and television, people interacted more often face-to-face. Now, even at coffee shops and other WiFi areas, people are tuned out from those around them and glued to their notebook computer screens; people may have taken more steps behind than steps forward in the communications process.

Gandhi has long been an inspiration to me for social justice, peace, egalitarianism, and fearlessness in the face of my own mortality. However, not of interest to me is the devotion he had to celibacy, even within marriage.

This Milanese Madison Avenue commercial production enlisted Spike Lee as its director. A sharper, color version is java-linked here. In the commercial, Gandhi is saying: "If you want to give a message it must be a message of ‘Love’, it must be a message of ‘Truth’. I want to capture your hearts. Let your hearts clap in unison with what I’m saying. A friend asked yesterday, ‘Did I believe in one world?’ How can I possibly do otherwise, of course I believe in one world." The complete 1947 speech is here. Sadly, ten months later, Gandhi was assassinated. Fortunately, his voice and spirit live on forever as long as humans live on. Jon Katz.

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