Tag Archives: us elections

Godin’s marketing lessons from the US elections… SA parties take note!

Seth Godin, branding guru and author of — amongst other things — The Purple Cow, has done a fascinating analysis of the marketing lessons we can learn from the US elections. With South Africa’s own just around the corner, perhaps this is something that the ANC, DA and Shikota SANC SADC ???? parties can take note of.

Of most relevance to SA’s opposition parties are the following two nuggets:

Marketing is tribal.

Building a new tribe (in marketing and in politics) is time consuming and risky and expensive. Both [candidates] set out to do this.

[…] McCain made a momentous decision. He chose Sarah Palin, and did it for one huge reason: to embrace the Rove/Bush ‘base’. To lead a tribe that was already there, but not yet his. He was hoping for a side effect, which was to attract Hillary Clinton’s tribe, one that in that moment, was also leaderless.

Seen through the lens of tribes and marketing, this is a fascinating and risky event. Are people willing to suspend disbelief or suspicion and embrace a leader in order to maintain the energy of their tribe?

This is a real question for every marketer with an idea to sell. Do you find an existing tribe (Harley drivers, Manolo shoe buyers, frequent high-end restaurant diners) and try to co-opt them? Or do you try the more expensive and risky effort of building a brand new tribe? The good news is that if you succeed, you get a lot for your efforts. The bad news is that you’re likely to fail.

Yes, knowing who your constituency is — and how you’re going to attract them — is vital. The DA needs to expand on its minority base, while Shikota needs to prove to South Africans that they’re not just a bunch of embittered Mbeki-ites.

The other nugget is especially for the DA and the new ANC breakaway, both of whom must be mindful of the potential consequences negative campaigning:

Attack ads don’t always work. There’s a reason most product marketers don’t use attack ads. All they do is suppress sales of your opponent, they don’t help you. Since TV ads began, voter turnout has progressively decreased. That’s because the goal of attack ads is to keep your opponent’s voters from showing up. Both sides work to whittle down the other. In a winner-take-all game like a political election, this strategy is fine if it works.

So why didn’t the ads work this time?

The tribe that Obama built identified with him. Attacking him was like attacking them. They took it personally, and their outrage led to more donations and bigger turnout. This is the lucky situation Apple finds itself in as well. Attacking an Apple product is like attacking an Apple user.

The DA’s “Stop a Zuma 2/3 majority” ad campaign (coming to a Facebook profile and online mail account near you) is a scare tactic that might work with some voters, but could quite easily alienate others. It’s a gamble because it might not present a sufficient inducement to vote DA (after all you could vote for a trillion other parties to prevent a Zuma 66%). The DA’s brand promises — such as the economic, anti-crime and poverty-eradication initiatives tabled by the party — are surely a more effective means to garner support.

Read Godin’s whole post here. Come on, it’s worth it….

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Pro-growth McCain is better for economy

According to an analysis on Bloomberg (and syndicated by the Business Day), a John McCain presidency would be more beneficial for the US economy because his policies are growth-oriented, whereas Barack Obama is more preoccupied with redistribution of existing wealth (“spreading the wealth around”) which will inevitably disincentivise wealth creation, futher stymieing economic growth.

Amity Shlaes, the commentator who wrote the piece, provides six compelling reasons why McCain has the edge on the economy:

1. Cutting the corporate tax by 10 percentage points, to 25 percent: A lower corporate tax rate would be a compelling reason for foreign money to want to stay here. It would help ensure that the dollar rally endures. It would drive the cash sitting around in what proved to be unprofitable investments — subprime mortgages, for example — into potentially profitable ones, many of which are as yet unidentified.
2. Capital Gains: Preserving the 15 percent tax rate on capital gains and dividends. McCain also has said he will make permanent President George W. Bush‘s income-tax cuts.

What today’s financial crisis has revealed is that there are a lot of mediocre companies slumbering in portfolios. Many people are getting out of those companies now. More will want to make their exit in coming years, but the capital gains rate increase promised by Barack Obama and the Democrats might deter them. The result will be that cash will not flow as often to new companies that may be developing superior products.

McCain’s rates would not only speed a recovery but also improve its quality and durability.

3. Capital Goods: Letting businesses expense technology and equipment in the same year they buy it. Under the current expensing provision, companies can write off half their equipment outlays in the first year and must depreciate other costs over a longer period.

4. Building nuclear plants: This is the kind of infrastructure the U.S. really needs, and it would even be fine to use Treasury bonds to finance it. Less dependence on foreign oil means less instability in domestic markets.

5. Freezing government spending overall: A superb notion, even if most of us believe Washington isn’t capable of passing it into law.

6. Taking the long view: McCain’s advisers talk about dynamic — not static — analysis, looking at the growth and competitive environment generated by tax cuts. The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation finds that the McCain tax plan would add 0.5 percent to the annual growth rate for the private sector for five years. Obama’s plan would subtract 0.7 percent a year in growth for the same period.

Read the analysis in full at Bloomberg.

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Mind the Gap: voter-activation becomes a moneyspinner

With the US presidential election just days away, Gap, the American clothing chain, has launched an online marketing campaign to encourage people to vote. Entitled, Gap Vote for ________, the campaign aims to encourage people to stand up for what they believe in… and, of course, sell a heck-load of t-shirts in the process.

The campaign uses several ambassadors, such as celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (in possibly the first time a blogger has been used to front an ad campaign by a mainstream clothing brand) who is standing up for free speech. Other ambassadors include singer Matt White (who is voting for “love”) and basketball team owner, Mark Cuban, who’s voting for “thanks”.

The campaign is evident of the shift towards integrated experiential and cause-related marketing initiatives that can break through the filters we place on the morass of advertising content we are exposed to each day.

Check out the campaign here.

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Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton make joint speech

More hil[l]arity from the folks at Saturday Night Live: click here to watch.

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Obama’s lies: what was that about a “new” kind of politics?

A few days ago, Afrodissident posted a video outlining the dodgy claims McCain’s campaign is making about Obama. Well, it transpires that Obama is playing dirty too — with Andrew Sullivan, a blogger in the US, citing at least three examples where McCain’s positions have been deliberately misrepresented or lied about:

Obama’s lies smack of desperation — and rank hypocrisy. His brand is all about change, about bringing a new, honest, open style of politics to Washington. Now that the gloves are coming off, perhaps so is the mask….

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McCain’s “distortions”: is this man a serial liar?

Here’s a viral video doing the rounds that takes aim at the alleged lies and distortions being peddled about Obama’s record in McCain campaign ads. If these allegations are true, it reveals a disquieting lack integrity on the part of McCain to say the least.

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