Monday, June 16, 2008

A Marketing Study in Contrasts

McCain can fill a town hall, Obama can fill a town.

My friends, I am boringIn searching for images for this post, I searched "McCain rally" in vain. There really is no such thing as a McCain rally. There are only McCain "events," and they usually look like somber gatherings at the local funeral parlor. Unfortunately for McCain, he often looks like the very made-up and freshly-embalmed guest of honor.

Has the rise of Obama been all about marketing, image and messaging? Has it been all about nice logos and trendy street art? Has it been about unsolicited virals and savvy Internet strategies? Catchy slogans and lofty rhetoric? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

cha-cha-cha-changesBut the contrasts that separate Obama and McCain are not all about Obama's positives; they are about McCain's negatives as well. You can only tout your POW status for so long before it begins to sound like sad pandering. When your most prominent banner ad is a Flash movie of you limping off a plane and saluting 40 years ago, you've staked your political future on a strategy most officers of the Armed Services find undignified at best and disingenuous at worst. Not that anyone does not grant McCain his due honor for serving and enduring untold suffering, but to capitalize on that service and endurance is to tarnish that honor.

When you were once the "Maverick," until a real maverick stole that thunder, you appear ridiculous to now claim to be the candidate of "Change." When you were once the "straight-talker," until an even straighter talker robbed you of that mantle, you appear shrill to be demanding instantaneous "town hall" styled meetings, the format your advisers suggest will make you look better.

Much has been made of "the Obama brand" or "the Republican brand" this season. Sadly for his team, McCain has no brand other than "I'm not that young kid who has all these people energized and excited about the political process. I'm not the naive lad with a questionable past who may or may not hate America but has nonetheless just beaten the most formidable force in American politics in the form of a former popular President and his inevitable wife. I'm a war hero and I am a warrior and I WILL NEVER SURRENDER."

And that sort of marketing energizes tiny rooms of long-time supporters. It doesn't create new customers or even get those still wondering what to buy out to the store to look at the product. There is no energy and no excitement. There is just an ever-shifting, tentative and increasingly jealous message.

Only thing left to do is smear the other product.

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2 Comments:

  • A real maverick would steal Obama’s message and start talking about Hope. I know McCain will be rock solid on military issues. I expect it. But hope would be a new twist for him. It’s the one mindset the sunrise picture-watching, glass half-full GOP always slams the Dems for not having enough of, especially whenever issues like the war or economy come up.

    Which is the dilemma the GOP messaging finds itself stuck with: how can things be so good on one hand, but on the other, terrorists are lurking around every corner.

    Well, which is it gang, ya know?

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at June 17, 2008 at 5:06 PM  

  • I've been sitting here trying to match your unbelievably sharp analysis with something pithy and flip. But um, let's get real for sec:
    Spot.
    Motherfucking. ON.

    By Anonymous Natasha V.C., at June 20, 2008 at 12:20 PM  

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