Can you guess who shared this pearl of marketing wisdom? "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
Was it Apple founder Steve Jobs? Advertising legend David Ogilvy? Good guesses, but no. It was White House chief of staff Andrew Card in September of 2002, explaining why the Bush administration didn't make the case for the second Gulf War during the summer.
The big media push would start in the autumn of 2002, with Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld all making appearances on TV through the winter. Colin Powell made his infamous case in front of the UN in early February of 2003, and the rest of the administration made a big push on TV during sweeps week. Bombs started falling on Iraq in a surprise invasion starting March 20, 2003.
From the September 7, 2002 New York Times:
White House officials said today that the administration was following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.
The rollout of the strategy this week, they said, was planned long before President Bush's vacation in Texas last month. It was not hastily concocted, they insisted, after some prominent Republicans began to raise doubts about moving against Mr. Hussein and administration officials made contradictory statements about the need for weapons inspectors in Iraq.
The White House decided, they said, that even with the appearance of disarray it was still more advantageous to wait until after Labor Day to kick off their plan.
''From a marketing point of view,'' said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, ''you don't introduce new products in August.''
For those not caught up on the history, we never found the supposed weapons of mass destruction that the Bush administration insisted Saddam Hussein possessed. The current state of Iraq might generously be described as chaotic, as the U.S. began new airstrikes in northern Iraq today, despite the Iraq War being declared over numerous times throughout the past decade.
Image via the Associated Press: President Bush, Chief of Staff Andrew Card, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, share a laugh as they wait at Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, Friday, Oct. 25, 2002