Home / Book Review / ISIS: The marketing of Apocalypse.. A short review

ISIS: The marketing of Apocalypse.. A short review


Author: Bruno Ballardini

Title: ISIS:The marketing of Apocalypse

Publisher: Baldini & Castoldi, Milano, Italy


Since June 2014, our talk shows have concerned nothing but lone wolves slaughtering the heart of Europe and the videos of the brutal executions carried out in Middle East by IS’s militants. The Western world condemns and bombs, secret services round up foreign fighters, books about the geopolitical scenarios of this Caliphate are being published, but IS’s threat is much more serious. According to the author – a philosopher of language and media, who has already published highly appreciated volumes on advertising and on the marketing of religion – the way the Islamic State is proselytising and propagandizing, can be considered the September 11th of the Internet.

Why is the cult of the «return to the Promised Land» so appealing to young westerners (also not of Arab origins)? Because IS has been able to offer a vision and some corresponding myths of our model, in which even those who live at its margins can identify in. And it did it skilfully using the tools and the marketing linked to our cultural industry: by removing western cultural elements from their context and by replacing them with its own TV news, commercials and formats. That’s how IS has become a popular “brand” and continues to recruit supporters through its social networks.

At stake it’s the world westernization and thus the main battlefield is represented by the media themselves. The analysis achieves three goals: it can be read as a complete study on IS’s techniques and communication strategies; it can be considered as a «reference book» for scholars and journalists who want to deeper analyze these themes; it compels us to also reflect on our paradigm of cultural imperialism from which IS, either we like it or not, descends.




Bruno Ballardini was born in Venice in 1954. Essayist, he is also an expert in strategic communication. After graduating in Philosophy of Language with Tullio de Mauro, he studied electronic music with Franco Evangelisti. In the early ’80s, after a short debut in journalism, he started a long career in multinational advertising corporations. He was a professor at the University of Salerno and at the University of Roma, La Sapienza. He writes for «Il Fatto Quotidiano» and «IlSole24Ore». Among his most successful essays, there are: Gesù lava più bianco (“Jesus Washes Whiter”, Minimum Fax, 2006) translated in eleven countries, and La morte della pubblicità (“The Death of Advertising”, Lupetti, 2012).

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