Kittens, Chocolate and Cotton Candy-The New Recruiting Tools for ISIS?


May 26, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013

isis prop

I am just a tool for terror. Maybe dogs are actually smarter than we all thought.

Since the truth didn’t seem to be working well for ISIS recruiters-Never ending misery, no pay, daily violence, blowing one’s self up for a promised down the road glory-the creative folks at “Deep in Some Secret Bunker, Inc.” have decided to turn the propaganda page.

Their new ploy?

Kittens, cotton candy and chocolate. Nutella chocolate to be exact.

Seriously. Would I kid about such culturally revered items?

Nope. Not even for all those vestial virgins on the “other side” who are now apparently awaiting newly minted martyrs with cuddly kittens and spreadable chocolate.

isis prop 3

Aren’t I more lovable when I am holding Nutella?

Let me see if I can explain.

Since it seems that ISIS terrorists, when not terrorizing the rest of the world, spend nearly every waking moment on the internet, they know full well that the way to one’s heart is through adorable kittens. And ideally, kittens doing funny and amusing things.

If you doubt this, simply check with the stat-nerds at YouTube and you will find that the videos that most often go viral and on average get the most “hits” are, well, anything and everything to do with kittens.

isis youtube kitten

I am the true YouTube kitten and for the record I am against terrorism, either from humans or dogs!

And chocolate?

Well, the persuasive power of chocolate has always been well known to anyone with a Valentine’s Day agenda and it’s no coincidence that American GIs gave out chocolate bars to both allies and enemies shortly after WW2. Sure, celery sticks and carrots may be healthier but it was friendships they were cultivating not reducing waistlines.

So, um, armed with these simple truths about the persuasive power of kittens, chocolate and cotton candy (okay, the last one is a bit random but it is still a gooey, sugary, guilty pleasure at your local fun-fair, right?) ISIS terror-pushers have taken to the internet recenty with lots of downloadable images of their terorrists (they prefer the term freedom fighters, I don’t really care about their preferences) posing with cans of Nutella, holding kittens and literally handing out cotton candy to children.

In fact, some of their recruitment “posters” have the tag-line-“Come join us and have as much cotton candy as you want.”

Gee, what kid or even a fun-loving, sugary-addicted adult could say no to that offer?

ISIS observers have noted that recently ISIS has, in addition to set-backs on the battlefield, been suffering blows to their image. It seems several western, radicalized females have been returning to the west and essentially spilling the beans… (Caution spoiler alert coming) that life in ISIS ain’t all what it is cracked up to be (see above for brief description/summary of ISIS life).

isis females

We were all duped. Who knew? (you mean besides the rest of the world?)

I know, what a shocker, right?

So, our esteemed scholars and experts on ISIS tell us that by flooding the internet with more “youth friendly” poses, ISIS will soften its image as, you know, terrorist killers and be seen, especially by younger recruits as lovable, sympathetic figures.

Or, at least that’s the plan.

But have no fear. The deep thinkers in Hollywood, those same folks who brought us Adam Sandler and Kevin James peeing in the pool (GrownUps) and Ben Affleck mumbling something or other as Batman (Batman v Superman) are being approached by those kitten-hating folks at the CIA and those not-so funny FBI boys to counter these recent ISIS propaganda ploys.

isis adam kevin

Have no fear America here we come!

No joker, er, joke.

Hollywood earned a lot of goodwill during and just after WW2 as they churned out heavily-laden propaganda films with tough guy heroes like John Wayne. Leaving no doubt that we were doing the right and noble thing. Then and now.

Hollywood is getting a new box of scripts. No more fuzzy politics. No more lines of gray.

Tom, you have a new Mission and it starts by picking out a lovable but gruff dog.

isis tom c

Enjoy this hug Tom, your new partner will be a Bulldog named Bruno.

George, forget that liberal goo you do, grab a box of chocolates, a golden lab retriever and a big gun. Time to hit the desert and even the score.

Angelina, enough with all those complicated, confusing plotlines. Time to pick a side. And tell Brad to start holding a cuddly kitten.

All is fair in love and war.

And this new chapter is all about myth-making, hero-worship and unforgettable screen images. And puppies, lots of puppies.

In other words, this battle will be fought on our terms.

I never did like kittens anyway.

And besides, we’ll be in safe hands at the top.

isis trump

I’ll build a wall to keep the kittens out and get the CEO of “Hello Kitty” to pay for it.

isis hillary

Kittens, they are so adorable, unless of course the focus groups disapprove then I will be against them before I am for them. Just tell me what you want for crying out loud.

Please pass the strawberry jam, I’ve decided to boycott Nutella.






25 thoughts on “Kittens, Chocolate and Cotton Candy-The New Recruiting Tools for ISIS?

  1. Jen b says:

    Great post! Hilarious and informative, ISIS now uses kittens to recruit. Pathetic but dangerous. What next??

  2. Kendria Swift says:

    I am not surprised at the level of tactics used in recruiting. Let’s start with me stating that I am completely opposed to who ISIS is and what they stand for. From a marketing standpoint, I have to admit, it is a deceptively smart maneuver. Public perception is everything. We see this type of action in product ads around the world. You take an immoral or unethical product, service or person, dress it up with a pretty bow and a nice jingle and all of a sudden it becomes a little less harsh on the eyes. On local soil, it is sad to say it but even the lowest of the lowest, namely pedophiles, use a similar tactic with candy, kittens and puppies to lure kids in. I pray for a generation that teaches their kids the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

  3. Jessica W says:

    Are they still doing this? I looked for more information, but I found some stories from a year or so ago:
    This is the first I’ve heard of the whole phenomenon (and the reporting on it), and I think it’s shockingly silly.

    1. Anyone who thinks ISIS fighters and recruits are not people who like chocolate, kittens, and takeaway food is naive. It makes complete sense that these people can compartmentalize their lives enough to enjoy sweets while planning to kill or learning to kill for their faith. Why are we always so surprised that maniacs or murderous fanatics are…GASP…people, just like us-people who have favorite foods and are gullible when someone promises they care about them? Instagram and twitter are natural outlets for those facets of their personalities, and, of course, make great propaganda tools (if all of this is actual propaganda, which it may not be).

    2. The only reason propaganda like this would ever work is if we promote the idea that cultists and terrorists are not real people, with three dimensions and hopes, dreams, likes, sorrows, and motives. We do a terrible job humanizing terrorists
    because we want to hate them. Of course we do. But, anytime you demonize people, even people who have done and are doing terrible things, you make it possible for them to be seen as victims. How exactly is ISIS still managing to draw in recruits? How can anyone want to take part in such horrible acts? Sympathy, of course. By casting our enemies in one or two dimensions we create an environment in which they can cast themselves (and their audience) as misunderstood, caricatured, bullied victims–who are JUST like you (guess what, the “bad” guys everyone tells you to avoid? They like kittens and just want to eat good takeaway with friends…how “bad” can they really be?).

    There is literally no propaganda that could ever make this better. The national conversation should cast them as deluded but in a way that acknowledges how close all of us are, at any moment, to brutal fanaticism–given the right motivator.

    I mean, really. How many times do we have to hear Donald Trump say “I love the uneducated! I love the veterans! I love the poor! Let’s build a wall to keep the infidels out! (Ok, I added that last one in there for effect, but he’s probably said it…)” and the Trumpers cheer and growl in a spittle-drenched frenzy before we see how close we all are to insanity and nutella propaganda?

  4. A. Hughes says:

    There’s kittens?! Sign me up! I kid, I kid. Ha! But really, while reading your post and an above comment I thought of cigarettes. Tobacco companies marketed the death-sticks with flavor and pretty packaging at one point and it worked.

    Youths are impressionable. I feel bad for kids if there is not a parent or guardian around to guide them. Some moms overseas started a support group on how to recognize if their kids had been approached for recruitments and how they could approach their kids to educate them about the recruiters. I heard it on NPR (Surprise, surprise. I have hour long work drive, I gotta listen to something.) One youth talked about her temptation to join – she was embarrassed once she truly realized what was going on. Someone may argue, “Common sense, don’t join” but not all sense is common. Also, some kids in the east don’t have guardians. If I was a kid living on the streets, I would be tempted. Come on, it’s NUTELLA! Ha!

    It’s crazy (and semi-humorist) to think this is actually happening, at the same time, I don’t doubt the tactics.

    We have problems in the U.S. but thankfully, it’s not, “I-need-to-hop-in-a-boat-and-get-the-heck-out-of-here!” bad.

  5. James Halios says:

    You gotta love the absurd world we live in. Just a few years ago I wouldn’t have even have considered this a joke for the sheer absurdity of it. Now it is a recruiting tool for ISIS and their world wide terror network. I hate to say it but the absurd nature of these recruiting tactics are a stroke of genius. I guess ISIS is trying to show it’s “softer side” by appealing to the things that everyone loves. Has ISIS hired a firm from Madison Ave for their marketing campaign? Because this is right out of their playbooks. To me ISIS employs the tactics of a cult. They get their recruits in by appealing to their weakness and then they brainwash them. It’s funny but the two women who came back telling their story reminds me of a people realizing that they are in a cult and then make a run for it.

  6. Briana Holloway says:

    Very good post Dr. Rabidoux! ISIS terrorists are always looking for new ways to recruit so them using sweet innocent kittens as a way to attract potential terrorist is no surprise to me. The scary part is they get away with doing such a thing!

  7. Briana Holloway says:

    I enjoyed reading! This does not surprise me because ISIS is always looking for new ways to recruit potential terrorist. They have gotten so desperate that they are not using innocent kittens. The scary part is that they actually get away with doing this.

  8. Ashley K. says:

    It makes sense that an organization that depends on recruiting young minds that are easier to mold and manipulate would use innocent items such as chocolate, candy, and kittens to appeal to their target audience. I guess all the talk of infidels, insurgency, and destruction can only get you so far before you have to appeal to a universally beloved and revered treat–Nutella. I never thought I would be talking about ISIS and Nutella in the same sentence but here we are..

    It always amazes me how simply obvious most propaganda campaigns are but there’s a reason that they have been used as a tried and true war-winning technique. North Korea has some of the most ridiculous propaganda I’ve ever heard but it seems to be quite effective in controlling the population. It seems that ISIS has realized the importance of good PR and has created their techniques in the internet School of Universally Beloved Items Guaranteed to Make Your Business Boom (I know, I know…horrible pun).

  9. Chardonnay Watson says:

    It is no surprise to me, that ISIS would take these condescending steps to recruit young and impressionable youth to be apart of their terrorist organization. It really is similar to how pedophiles lure young kids to their cars with ice cream/candy, or how they lure teenagers with chat-rooms and money, etc. It honestly, is just a horrific idea that suggests that some young teenagers could actually fall for the ISIS propaganda and become a part of this organization without knowing the real truths behind what they are being con’ed into joining.

  10. Dustin H. says:

    The graphics and texts below them are hilarious, but seriously…who doesn’t love kittens, cotton candy, and NUTELLA!? I’d have to say their marketing director is on point and due for a promotion. Seriously though, they are using whatever they can to attract new recruits…they probably leave out the fact that many positions are “DEAD-end” jobs (i.e. personal explosive device tester I). Sad times, and if they are coming up with these innovative (yet simple) ways to recruit, we need to come up with new ways to combat them.

  11. Kershawnda J. says:

    Desperate times call for soft and sweet measures I guess. Like most political and religious organizations, ISIS wants to be seen as the victor as well as the nice guy that will do whatever it takes to make sure that they spread their message and recruit whoever is gullible enough to believe in their fuzzy image. I just don’t know what to say about this. What happened to the world. I know…. social media, participation trophies and yes kitten videos. People believe whatever they see online. join things just feel apart something but never expects or want to really take apart of what is really going on.

  12. Marsha M says:

    ISIS recruitment methods are disgusting. I agree with Kershawnda, they are desperate for new recruits and will do anything to attract them. I feel sorry for anyone who is compelled to join this terroristic association. Once you in, I have read the horror stories about getting out. ISIS does not care about anyone, not even their followers.

  13. jpmcvaney says:

    I sadly find this could be a very true statement overseas. In the United States it would just be a way for ISIS to cause car accidents while teens drive down the road watching kitten videos they were tagged or had posted to their facebook pages, twitter pages, or even their snapchats. Obviously I do not think this is the case and I feel like our teens are much smarter than that but who knows. It is just funny to think they are using such tactics to recruit so that some join with a group that has no true ties to a real human mindset.

  14. Kenny.H says:

    This post is very informative. The funny thing is that it is not shocking. ISIS will do anything to get their recruiting numbers up. They are recruiting individuals who were born in America, and have no ties to the middle east strictly off YouTube videos. They have taken on all mediums of recruiting to ensure they get the number of people they need to execute their goals. Chocolate, kittens, and promises of a great afterlife has become the norm.

  15. Dave Brannan says:

    It seems like an interesting strategy…. On one hand, I guess I see the value in softening their image. But on the other hand, what types of recruits are they hoping to attract? Are young people that enjoy kittens and candy really going to be the ones they can radicalize to the point that they are brutally murdering people? It seems like they would be better off using the courage and bravery propaganda angle to influence young people attracted to those traits.

    However, I also did just read an article about some bizarre stats about humans that science can’t explain which claimed that 69% of those who reported having committed violent crimes also reported eating candy daily at age 10 so maybe they are on to something.

    Either way, that strategy still seems absolutely ridiculous. Trying to soften an image with the polar opposite discredits what they do. From a purely image standpoint, it would be like a metal band going on tour with a pop band in order to reach a wider audience.

  16. David Pittsenberger says:

    Great, now I won’t be able to bring Nutella and cotton candy with me on my next flight. Thanks ISIS!

    Not surprising really. Pretty much every prior terrorist group waged some kind of information war. I think it’s more about making them look like the good guys. “Hey, we’re just like you. We love freedom and chocolate and adorable little mammals!”

    Of course, the reality is that they are actually people. No reason that they shouldn’t behave like people no matter how much our own propaganda machines try to dehumanize them. Granted, they are callous people with no regard for human life or free thought. But as we all know, even Hitler loved puppies.

  17. Hampton Raulerson says:

    I find it interesting that people in the U.S. would believe the propaganda which ISIS is putting out. I can see how handing out candy to children and kittens might soften their image but posing with a jar of impostor chocolate? It will be interesting to see how many new films are produced by Hollywood condemning terrorist groups in some form of another.

  18. Sherry Shaw says:

    Who joins ISIS anyway? If you can be lured In with things like kittens, etc, you should probably be reading more news. What a sad state of affairs.

  19. Levi says:

    It is truly disturbing the lows ISIS will stoop to recruit people to partake in their wickedness. The ability of the terror group to use the internet and social media to spread their propaganda is frighting. Using sites like Twitter, they can spread their message and reach unstable individuals. It is critical for tech companies to find ways to identify and delete accounts associated with any terror group, or any account that spreads this sort of propaganda.
    People who are gullible enough to believe these post of kittens and candy will see that they have been lied to by truly evil individuals. They will also see that they are pawns in the terrorists’ quest for destruction and blood lust. There will be no cotton candy or chocolate, only hatred and malevolence.

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