Government needs to do homework on marketing

“We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.”

That’s how many nightmares start.

So the people responsible for spending $15 trillion of our dollars more than we have are micromanaging the people that run the U.S. Military specifically on how to market. Or, more specifically, how not to market.

Makes sense, coming from the folks that gave us the $100 hammer.

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and has sponsored a $608 billion defense bill that carried an amendment that prohibits the various military branches from sponsoring any sport. The amendment makes specific note, “None of the funds made available in this act may be used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, wrestling or other sports.”

So the wise folks in the House, which hasn’t provided a budget for the federal government in more than three years, are now experts on marketing. Amazing.

Kingston, a former agribusiness insurance salesman, said NASCAR, “…is not a good recruiting tool.”

Really? According to the National Guard, 16,800 individuals cited NASCAR as the source of their interest in joining in 2008. In 2009, 53,740 qualified leads were generated by National Guard’s NASCAR program.

The folks at Sprint, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Miller Lite, Lowe’s, Home Depot, 3M, Office Depot, Ford, Target, FedEx, Shell/Pennzoil, AAA and more -- uber marketers all -- see it a bit different than does the esteemed member of the House (and apparent expert on all things marketing). They pour millions upon millions of dollars in to the sport.

But who would know better, private industry or the government?

Advertising and marketing are important, particularly with an all-volunteer armed forces. How many times have you seen a television commercial from one of the branches of the military or even a commercial during previews at movie theaters? I’m sure that the recruiters from the various military services produce those commercials because they are effective recruiting tools.

So why ban certain types of advertising and marketing? Personal expertise or personal bias?

Oh, one other thing. Rep. Kingston admits he has never attended a NASCAR event.

“I would encourage him to do some homework,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose car is sponsored by the National Guard.

That sounds like good advice for the former insurance salesman.