Why Black Lives Matter is Political Marketing at Its Finest

Toni Koraza

The most intense political protest since Gandhi and the liberation of India


Marketing is probably not the first thing on your mind when you think of Mahatma Gandhi.

Besides being a great lawyer and a genius political strategist, Gandhi is also one of the most prominent marketers in history. Gandhi starts his journey as a lawyer but soon realizes he can use his talents for the greater good. Gandhi starts wearing only loincloths (white dhoti and shawl) to identify with the people of India.

Gandhi is partially responsible for dismantling the biggest empire the world has ever seen. Without a fired bullet, Gandhi rallies the local and global sentiment to free India from the hand of British colonialists.

The monumental change happens during the Salt March — the most important peaceful protest until last week. The impact of the Salt March echoes through the decades, just like the message of Martin Luther King, and just like Black Lives Matter.

India — one of the top world producers of salt — barely distributes the essential mineral among its own people due to harsh British laws. In 1930, Gandhi starts a 240 mile march to the sea together with 78 men.

Tens of thousands are joining along the way. Eventually, the march is almost two miles long. And someone is filming the entire protest.

Gandhi reaches Dandi at the Arabian sea, grabs a bit of water, dries it out in front of everybody, and makes salt. The pinch of salt in Gandhi’s hand symbolizes defiance against the authoritarian system. And also, the best non-violent PR move in the history of political marketing.

Millions openly start making their own salt the next day. British power arrests Gandhi together with 60,000 people for disobeying the regime.

The world hears about the British oppression, and Gandhi bolts the first nail in the British imperial coffin. The country doesn’t get full independence for another 17 years, but the whole world hears about the struggle of the Indian people. Gandhi proves himself as one of the fiercest marketers the world has ever seen. Ultimately, the whole British Empire collapses.

Recently, Black Lives Matter has the same intensity and vigor. Alecia Garcia, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi coin a simple, yet powerful message after the acquittal of George Zimmerman. The man in question has murdered an unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. The movement starts in 2013 with the hashtag Black Lives Matter.

The message Black Lives Matter is enticing enough to rally the people of any race, gender, and social status. Counter groups may come up with a crafty slogan All Lives Matter, but it only fuels the BLM movement.

The real trigger is the ruthless murder of George Floyd. His death has been recorded by a 17-year-old girl — an accidental pedestrian.

Overnight, the movement catches fire and suddenly millions are marching in 50 States and more than 20 countries around the world. Public demonstrations that usually take months to prepare happen instantly.

Black Lives Matter is a powerful message that unites people from any walk of life in the fight against systemic racism.

Not even the global pandemic has the power to stop the public outcry for real institutional change. The biggest Zoom protest in solidarity with Black Lives Matter happens in Thailand, while the country is in lockdown. The UK sees several racist monuments pulled down. Belgium takes down the statues of King Leopold II — a colonial king.

The change happens unbelievably fast. The power of political marketing is to put the issue in the forefront of our lives. The world is facing countless and imminent threats every day, but we just can’t deal with everything. Political marketing points to injustices within our systems and brings the problems of black communities in our lives.

“Never before in the history of modern polling has the country expressed such widespread agreement on racism’s pervasiveness in policing, and in society at large,” The New York Times reports.

If it’s not for the organized message of Black Lives Matter, the world might never start caring about it on such a massive scale. Very much like that pinch of salt from Ghandis hands-on that afternoon in 1930, hashtag Black Lives Matter unites masses to demand Institutional change.

The message sprawls to fuel one of the biggest protests known to men. For the first time in modern history, the president of the United States has to hide from his own people. Individuals from the National Guard have joined the protest. Pentagon openly refuses to listen to Trump.

Minneapolis disbands the police force in a historic vote. The National Football League — once a powerful and bitter rival — embraces the movement. Amazon CEO and the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, openly supports Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter is the message that spontaneously combusts the planet. Very much like the people of 1930 and colonialism, we’re doing our best to understand the racial injustice within our society.

Good political marketing puts the issue at the forefront of our lives and makes us care. Indeed, we should’ve done something a long time ago. But we’re here now, united under the slogan Black Lives Matter.

When you think about it, the world is full of imminent dangers including extreme weather conditions, Coronavirus Pandemic, political turmoil, and oil pollution. But Black Lives Matter is on our minds now, even after the elections of 2020.

The momentum is here to create positive and meaningful change within our societies.

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

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