Perhaps somewhat abnormal for anti-Western militants, Daesh relies heavily on Western propaganda tricks and pop culture gimmicks.
"Daesh are very skilled at using propaganda and other instruments. They use language that young people recognize and fall under the spell," Jon Fitje Hoffmann, technical director for analysis at Norway's Police Security Service (PST), told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK.
Terrorist organizations have used propaganda as an instrument for ages. But Daesh are not your garden variety terrorists, Oscar-nominated Norwegian director Stefan Faldbakken pointed out, after having closely followed the terrorist organization's methods.
"They use our whole popular culture against us and still say 'death to the Western culture.' They turn it all upside down. I think that is very interesting artistically speaking," he said.
"I would like divide their videos into two categories. On the one hand, you have those pure bragging videos, showing how Daesh have beaten all their opponents. You can see their enemies dig their own grave and being executed. <…> The second category looks more like travel videos, which show how great it feels to live in the Islamic State," Faldbakken said, pointing out the "Visit Daesh" feel about them.
Apart from videos, Daesh use computer games to appeal to the younger public, Norwegian game developer Jon Cato Lorentzen said. In particular, shooting games are "improved" in a way that allows you to play as a Daesh soldier.
"They use games because it is a place where young people meet. If you work within marketing and want to target a specific audience, try to stay where they are. This is a common mantra in the advertising industry," Lorentzen said.
"They have enough people who have grown up with video games, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube — the whole internet culture. They know very well how to respond and how to create a 'meme,'" Faldbakken pointed out.
Daesh do not hesitate to take Western popular culture mottos and reverse them to achieve a dramaturgical and ideological impact. An example of this includes aptly turning the motto acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once) into YODO (You Only Die Once).