A lot happened in the month of June, some are sad events, others are simply unforgettable just like October 30, 1974; the day the phrase “Rope-A-Dope” was practically born in a bout that rumbled the jungle of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The etymology of the phrase “Rope-A-Dope,” stemmed from the concept of Trick,
which equally speaks to our present day idea of “Mumu Button,” likewise the age-long concept of Psychological Warfare.
During the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th Centuries BC, tales were told of how the Greek army rope-a-doped the Trojans into defeat, using the Trojan horse trick.
The same rope-a-dope trick played out on June 6, 1944, during the World War II period, when the Western Allies deceptively invaded Normandy a region in France, and then liberated Europe from the claws of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi German. The Western Allies fooled the Germans with regards to the date, time and place of the invasion by coining military jargons such as, D-Day and H-Hour. In fact, that was the era that propounded the now famous D-Day phraseology.
Besides the warfronts, rope-a-dope is traceable to other human experience.
In the words of Harry Edwards, one of the world’s top-rated sociologists of our time: “Rope-a-dope isn’t just a war of wit, heart and mind as often deployed by the military, it’s definitely a ready tool in the hands of politicians.”
Through the years in Nigeria, we all know how the government habitually rope-a-dope the masses into believing that “things must get worse before it gets better, and that, sacrifice is the building block of change.” Though this is a truism, however, the problem with such line of argument in Nigeria is that, while the masses are haplessly bearing the brunt of the so-called sacrifice, those in top governmental echelons are busy consolidating on their immoral and amoral perks.
Our Advertising industry equally got a share of rope-a-dope on July 16, 2015, when former President Goodluck Jonathan suddenly pulled the rug off the feet of the then constituted council of APCON. According to sources, the plot actually started when, on April 23, 2014, GEJ deceptively and illegally appointed Ngozi Emioma, a non-APCON fellow to chair the association. The move was what eventually culminated into the grand plan of sweeping off any regulatory body that might want to put reins or “pour sand-sand” into his “anything goes” campaign materials ahead of the then 2015 general elections.
Of course, the rope-a-dope blow crippled APCON and her reform agenda for 18 months. And as expected, most of the campaign materials for the 2015 elections fell into an all-time-low as they flagrantly violated the advertising code.
Truth is, as long as APCON remained under the straps of the federal government, the association is forever opened for a rope-a-dope, sucker punch.
Suffice it to say we sometimes create ads to rope-a-dope buying decisions or moments when clients rope-a-doped us into creating dumb ads; it’s instructive to point out how we ourselves have cheaply rope-a-doped ourselves into believing all sorts all along:
We once believed if an ad agency is not affiliated to a global network, such agency wouldn’t get juicy business. We once believed if the Creative Director isn’t an expatriate, client won’t see global best practice in anything we do.
Majority of us still believe the only thing we can do very well in this life, is advertising, hence the unnecessary proliferation of ad agencies, with many better off as business centers. Some creative guys in agencies still believe if they don’t look quirky or wear bushy Afros, or braids, people won’t take them to be truly creative. In fact, some strongly believe they won’t be productive if they ever wear suit and tie to office! And the list goes on.
Though the late Muhammad Ali coined the phrase rope-a-dope; it was originally meant for George Foreman. Not for you and me.
… I’m Just Saying.