Thursday, September 11, 2008
5935: What Obama Teaches Madison Avenue.
The Franklin Blog noted two other blogs—FiveThirtyEight and Crooks And Liars—insisted Barack Obama must create better ads. Crooks And Liars wrote, “The Obama campaign needs to think a little more outside of the box. They should aim to produce ads that are either more creative/funny than a typical campaign ad, or more sincere.” MultiCultClassics posted initial comments at The Franklin Blog, and here they are again with elaboration.
Perhaps Obama realizes traditional ads don’t influence voters’ decisions. After all, has anyone ever cast a ballot because of a commercial?
It’s hard to recall positive and memorable TV spots for presidential candidates. The last one that comes to mind is Hal Riney’s “Morning in America” hyping Ronald Reagan. On the flip side, there are plenty of spots that result in ridicule and worse. How many parodies were inspired by Hillary Clinton’s 3 a.m. nonsense? John McCain has generated loads of problems for himself via broadcast bullshit. You’d think the Arizona senator would opt for direct mail and telemarketing versus continuing to set up people’s punchlines.
The truth—if such a thing exists in advertising and politics—is that Obama has been running great ads. But he’s using nontraditional ad techniques. His digital skills make McCain look downright analog. Plus, Obama lets influencers literally sing praises for him. Meanwhile, numerous recording artists have demanded McCain stop playing their tunes.
There’s been controversy with minority media feeling slighted by Obama. But why buy ad space when the publications put him on nearly every cover? That’s called free publicity.
Obama’s “Change” theme has been consistent and memorable. Could anyone recite McCain’s “Country First” tagline until maybe a week ago?
Obama has displayed an active dislike for the standard political games, and it appears his annoyance extends to the standard political ads. Like successful and breakthrough brands, Obama has established a leadership position without regular marketing schemes. TV spots are not the primary vehicles delivering his messages. And the “product” is ultimately selling itself.
There are lessons here for the ivory towers on Madison Avenue.