How the "Average" American became the star of the 2008 Presidential Election.
From "Joe the Plumber" to the myriad blogs, viral campaigns, and grassroots efforts, it feels for the first time in modern history that the power of deciding the election has been placed directly in the hands of the average US citizen. Thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and text-messaging--the way we get and share information today--voters have greater access to information, they can research what they don't understand and they can and will share that information with others. There are valuable branding lessons to be learned of the ingenuity and potential challenges of hyperspeed marketing that will guide our future campaigns, electoral or not. Microtargeting helps you know exactly who and where you need to reach Although Howard Dean was the first to understand the power of the internet to help build a campaign from the bottom up, Obama was the first to truly harness the internet's power to revolutionize the way to run a campaign. From mobilizing unregistered, previously uninterested voters to raising record amounts of cash, Obama succeeded in using the internet to find out exactly where he needed to be. The challenge: Your connections to your audience must be meaningful or you risk burning them out. The internet has made detectives of us all Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe warns in today's New York Times, "You do focus groups and people say, ‘I saw that ad and I went to this Web site to check it'...“They are policing the campaigns.” Case in point, I was very surprised by some of the small-business claims made by Obama and McCain during the debates and immediately researched their quotes. Got my answers and discussed with at least 10 people. The challenge: Never fudge little details or you risk losing your audience when, not if, they find out. An excited, mobilized audience is a loyal one I've been twittered, I've been Facebooked, I've been enticed, cajoled, guilted, and bribed to get out my vote
today. Whether my colleagues, friends, and local businesses are for McCain or Obama, their message is clear: they are excited, mobilized and won't take defeat lying down. To this, Plouffe reminds us, “Without the candidate who excites people, you can have the greatest strategy and machinery and it won’t matter.” The challenge: You must deliver a consistent message that inspires and be prepared to make good on your promises.
How brands are seizing the moment to offer affordable luxury to cautious consumers.
An interesting theory that developed after World War II was that lipstick sales are an excellent way to gauge the pulse of a flat-lining consumer. What economists found was that as the economy dipped, lipstick sales tended to rise, illustrating that to even the most fractious consumer, a small, attainable indulgence was considered necessary, a reviving jolt to the consumer’s heart.
Not only is this a smart idea—giving consumers an entry point to an otherwise unattainable luxury brand—offering “affordable luxuries” to consumers is a necessity in today’s economy. Ultimately, the consumer will do one of two things to squeeze a little luxury out of her diminished disposable income; she will remain a) brand-loyal, buying an item from her favorite luxury brand at the lowest price point, or she will become a b) brand-replacer, substituting a cheaper alternative for her favorite luxury brand, and the retailer runs the risk of losing her for good.
The scenarios are endlessly fun to dream up. Brand-Loyal Scenario: While this may not be the moment for a Nanette Lepore’s gorgeous “Cheek Cheek Velvet Coat” ($635), this is certainly a time to scoop up her collection of flats for Keds, ($20-40). Brand-Replacer Scenario: If Guerlain’s long-wearing KissKiss Laque ($28) is financially out of reach, L’Oreal’s Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour Compact ($8.39) is right on target.
How the presidential candidates are using creative branding strategies to capture voters' imagination and attention. We all know that a teeny-tiny, ever-so-slightly, very important occasion is upon us. Come November 4th, the United States will have a new leader, one we fervently hope will usher in an era of peace, prosperity and respect for the dignity of all mankind. As true pillars of bipartisanism (and discretion), we would never reveal who we plan to vote for, but let the records show that we have unbounded respect for both John McCain and Barack Obama. What we CAN reveal is our equally unbounded respect for the level of ingenuity and creativity we have seen in the lead-up to this election by the supporters of both parties. Naturally, we are drawn toward the aesthetics, style, and effectiveness with which each party has delivered its campaign messages and objectives, with the result of making the public a) care about the elections, b) recognize that their vote does matter, and c) get out the vote in anticipated record numbers.
There are some serious iconographic images and slogans at work here such as, "Change We Can Believe in" and "Great AmeriCain Hero," which will be remembered along with classics like "I Like Ike," "Give 'Em Hell, Harry," and "Tipeecanoe and Tyler, Too." We delight in the myriad ways the parties and their supporters have expressed their messages, prompting celebrities from both camps like Halle Berry, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Elizabeth Hasselbeck to pick their team and help spread the word. As our own tribute to the artisans and creative minds at work, we have compiled a roundup of our favorites. Clockwise, from top right:
- Artists for Obama: Poster artwork and imagery donated by artists to raise money. The two pieces here are by Scott Hansen and Shepard Fairey
- Great AmeriCain Hero: Logo designed by none other than La Hasselbeck, herself
- Obama Flowers Keds Shoes: Designed by VoteObama
- Palin Power mini buttons: Note the "i" is a lipstick -- Will anyone will soon forget the bulldog/hockey mom line? I didn't think so. Pure genius.
- Obama Necktie: Designed by the American Necktie Company