Military Parade or Viral Video?

Is the White House’s military parade idea a good one?

The parade would be a form of communication — basically a marketing stunt.

It would be held, filmed, viewed and shared (like this or this —only probably way less cool.)

Not long before the White House announced the parade idea, the following video went viral in the Middle East. It’s a military parade masquerading as a story. Iran attacks a Saudi ship on a humanitarian mission. Bad idea, it turns out. Saudi Arabia proceeds to pound the fuck out of Iran with all manner of shiny weaponry. It’s unclear if the Saudi video was funded by the government—it was posted by an independent entity. Regardless, it’s a military parade. No question.

I’m no fan of saber-rattling  (I tend more to “speak softly and carry a big stick” power-backed diplomacy). But if you’re gonna speak loudly (as Trump wants to and as the Saudis do here) then what’s smarter in the digital age?

I vote for the story-based approach without having to lug heavy weaponry across the country and create a bunch of potholes in D.C.

Military Times said a parade could cost up to $30M, depending on its length — quoting White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

How much does animation cost? It varies, of course. Certainly, length matters—as in parades. But the type of animation and who is doing it matters a lot too. Animator Callison Slater has a very cool listing of animation costs with examples. From his site:

  • Tangled: $49,000 per second
  • Toy Story 3, $36,000 per second
  • Ratatouille, $25,000
  • The original Toy Story, $10,000
  • The Simpsons, $1,000
  • South Park, $220 per second

The Saudi shoot-em-up is 6 minutes long. It likely cost more per second than the Simpsons or South Park (it’s 3D vs. 2D, for starters). But even if it cost as much as the original Toy Story (doubtful) that puts the cost at $3.5M. That’s a lot less than an actual parade. And  leaves a lot of budget left over for spreading the word.


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