The Obama Brand

From Katherine Jordan:

found this magazine at the gym and thought the article was really interesting. Ellen McGirt writes, “Politics [after all] is about marketing – about projecting and selling an image, stoking aspirations, moving people to identify, evangelize and consume.” I have to agree with her statements, especially considering the history of politics. Political campaigning has been around since the 1830s, when the Whig party flooded voters with promotional ads against Van Buren and his Jacksonian inspired politics.

Keith Reinhard, the chairmen of advertising agency DDB Worldwide, said, “Barack Obama is three things you want in a brand: New, different, and attractive. That’s as good as it gets.” Reinhard’s statement reminds me of our discussion last Thursday about choosing key visuals. There can be issues with key visuals; are they reliable, attractive, credible, or relatable? Campaigning in general is all about assuring the voter he or she is choosing the right candidate. Of course, the voter has to agree with the candidate’s political platform issues and policies, but I think most voters also want to feel assured of the candidate’s attributes as a person.

Obama’s campaign is reaching the 18-29 year old market that advertisers desire because that demographic shares new media, online social networks, and a distaste for top-down sales pitches. Because of Obama’s success in reaching this demographic, his campaign Web site is more dynamic than any other candidates’. The site features ring tones, widgets, videos and photos to give his supporters a reason to come back. When voters find a “reason to come back” to the Web site, the brand is successful in its repeatability, an attribute to strong advertising campaigns. Obama also utilizes celebrity support – key visuals – from the Black Eyed Peas’ video “Yes We Can” to garner voter interest from the 18-29 demographic.

Anyway, I’ve always been interested in the marketing aspect of political campaigns because of their impact on voter trends. It just speaks to how influential good advertising can be even if
it’s not immediately affective. I made a PDF of the article if anyone is interested in reading the rest of it.

McGirt, Ellen. “The brand called Obama; Win or lose, Barack Obama’s rise changes business as usual for everyone. Here’s why.” Fast Company. April, 2008: 84 -92.

Additional Links:

Reagan’s notable campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMJ90T2rwXU
A Study in Brands: Who’s The Best Democrat. http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2007/05/presidential_br.html

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