Branding Insights From Military Codenames Like Python Dance, Crocodile Smile

Branding Insights From Military Codenames Like Python Dance, Crocodile Smile

Nigerian Army possibly has a “brand expert” that comes up with operational codenames they use these days. The latest is Crocodile Smile for Ogun State operation. Sure, sending the Army internally is not a smiling matter. It means something is broken. Yet, there is something to learn here. (EFCC had engaged a Twitter maestro, F.Shaw, to get traction. So, do not dispel the notion that  the Army may be using brand masters.)

Hitler used Operation Barbarossa as Nazi invaded Russia. Frederick I Barbarossa was the Emperor of the Roman Empire. U.S. used Desert Storm against Iraq. Code-naming is military.

In the past, Nigerian military used to have names like Operation Maximum Safety, Pulo Shield [Search & Rescue], Iron Fence [Armed Robbers] and Operation Crackdown (Boko Haram). Then, they went local with Operation Lafiya Dole [Peace is a Must], Awase [pipeline], Operation Tsare Teku [pirates in Niger Delta].

But they now prefer animals. In South East, they used Egwu Eke [Python Dance]; Southern Kaduna, Operation Harbin Kunama [Scorpion Sting], Crocodile Smile, etc.

I do think they are trying many things to brand their operations for the press. Sure, it is a bad thing when the Army/military is on the streets. But despite the nonsensical paradox of python dancing and crocodile smiling, they are making these programs “noticeable” (cannot use memorable in this context; there is nothing memorable when you have Army on the streets) for press to report. Perhaps, Nigerians relate better with animals.

If you subtract the nature of the operations, people are relating with the animal-based codenames more and the discussion is more nuanced than dropping stale names like Operation Crackdown. If the Army is coming to town, what do you expect? Or the obviously thoughtless codename like Operation Maximum Safety. Everyone knows that when the government sends the Army, it is for safety. But the imagination of crocodile smiling makes it “remember-able”. Whether crocodile smiles or not, it is none of their businesses.

I know that most churches use animals especially birds to brand programs.  You may test if branding with animals can get your products further. I am not saying it will work but there could be something there with us on animals. After all, Dangote Group logo is a bird. We may be up to something in the country with animals. I am so surprised on the recent tractions of the Nigerian military operation with regards to their webinalities. They gave the press things to remember and write with.


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