Decoding Washington, DC’s Mysterious Advertising

Photo: Mission Essential Personnel/WSJ

Photo: Mission Essential Personnel/WSJ

I recently visited Washington, DC, to meet up with Robert Bauval, co-author of the next book that disinformation will be publishing, The Master Game: Unmasking The Secret Rulers Of The World. We went on a mini-tour of the city with Robert interpreting the symbology of many famous structures such as the Washington Monument and the House of the Temple. (We’ll be releasing some video footage that we shot there soon.)

We noticed another set of mysterious signs around the city, far more modern, that require an insider’s knowledge to understand them, and as luck would have it, Thomas Catan reports on them now for the Wall Street Journal:

This city is different; you just have to look at the side of a bus to see that.

Every day in the nation’s capital, commuters and visitors stare at ads in subway cars, on buses or on mobile billboards, unable to figure out what they mean.

But that doesn’t bother advertisers. The ads aren’t meant for everybody. They’re only for the tiny part of the traveling public that holds the federal purse strings.

The wooing used to be conducted mainly in private. Companies would try to press a card into a policy maker’s hand or meet a program manager at industry events sponsored by trade publications like Government Executive or Government Computer News.

But as the competition for lucrative federal contracts has intensified, it has spilled into the public arena—leaving many people baffled.

In one radio ad, a company called Qinetic North America touts its “engineering and technical support, field services support, plus innovative solutions to help protect our war-fighters including tactical robots and controllers, vehicle armoring [and] gunshot localization systems.”

Another company—”the leader in cloud-based federal financial management”—offers “GCE Solution, with standardized financial business processes built in, eliminates the need for customizations that drive up costs and drag down projects.”

Many of the ads on WTOP-FM, Washington’s news, traffic and weather radio station, target government procurement officers and program managers as they’re stuck in the capital’s notorious rush-hour traffic.

Mysterious acronyms give the ads the flavor of coded Cold War era shortwave radio broadcasts: ISR, F136, IPV6 and ICD-10.

For the record, those stand for: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance programs; a type of jet engine; a protocol by which data are sent between computers on the Internet; and the tenth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)