Sunday, December 04, 2005

Have a coke and a chinook

How do you think decisions about billions of taxpayers dollars are being made? Would you believe major companies like Lockheed-Martin are relying not only on pricy bid proposals to the government, but also more economical radio adds complete with celebrities and sports references? Not exactly the intellectual argument that I had pictured.

This Washington Post article describes how Lockheed-Martin in an attempt to sway important defense officials to buy into their 10 billion federal law enforecment communications system, is buying up radio advertising not to reach the mass public, but about 50 employees in the Treasury, Justice, and Homeland Security departments. Lockheed Martin is not alone in this endeavor, as government contractors have surpassed the auto industry as the top revenue category for one popular Washington news-based radio station.

"And while there may be only a few dozen officials involved in the final decision on a contract, Calkins added, those people can be influenced by others -- like co-workers and bosses -- who might encounter an ad."

What? I realize that decisions about defense procurement are based on a variety of things including the much more fact based bid proposals. The idea that decisions could even be slightly affected by "peer-pressure" from co-workers who heard their favorite football player on the radio is fine for tennis shoes, but ridiculous for defense procurement. What is next- television adds with blondes in bikinis posting up against the Millennium Falcon?

Does anyone else find this as crazy as I do?