Sunday, August 3, 2008

Marketing the Presidential Candidates 101

The past week has seen an interesting strategy shift in the Presidential race. McCain's campaign must have concluded that they can't win without going negative. So they've put out some PR and ads that attempt to reposition what everyone thought was Obama's biggest strengths into his biggest weaknesses. Never mind that McCain said he would run a positive campaign. That was before the polls convinced him he's losing.

Here are a few examples which show the strategy in action:

1. All the pundits are calling Obama the greatest orator of the new millennium. Therefore, McCain declares that while Obama gives great speeches, words don't matter. Only deeds matter, and Obama has accomplished no deeds that matter. It's not really his fault. He's just too darn young.

2. Obama is as famous as a rock star. He is the Chosen One. So, McCain says that fame is not what's important. As McCain's ad points out, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are famous. But, would you vote for either to be President? (Maybe, it depends on who they're running against).

3. Obama visits all the world leaders and they just love him. The Germans go completely ga-ga. They even wave American flags while Obama lectures the world on how we should just all get along with each other. Obama makes no major gaffes (except not visiting wounded soldiers) and looks quite Presidential. This results in McCain suggesting that Obama is celebrating his victory with a world tour even before the poor American voters get a chance to give their opinion on who they want to lead the Free World. How arrogant of Obama, they say.

4. And finally, Obama's greatest strength is that he is Black. Oops, wait, that used to be a real negative. But just how cool would it be if the US elected a Black President (not to mention one whose father is a Muslim)? The rest of the world would simply swoon with new respect for the US of A. McCain's response is to accuse Obama of playing the Race Card when Obama said he doesn't look like the other Presidents on the dollar bills. How tacky of Obama to inject Race into our color-free society.

Well, all this is really quite familiar. It's an old marketing adage: if you can't fix it, feature it. This tactic usually works. The latest polls say that the race is tightening.


Anonymous said...

It's over...Obama has won. McCain is trying what Hillary tried and it won't work.

Incontrovertible said...

It's a plebiscite on Obama. If the voters are comfortable with him, he wins. If not, McCain becomes President by default.