Monthly Archives: October 2008

It’s Nokia v.s Apple

A report today from Synovate likens the two US Presidential candidates to brands.  Being very interested in brands in the traditional / non-political sense, this was of real interest.  Synovate relate Obama’s focus on issues that are close to the hearts of the public - education, healthcare and economics – to Nokia’s ‘You, You, You’ approach.  Whilst McCain set’s his stall out based on his own interests - war and Iraq – which is more similar to Apple’s ‘you come to me’ approach.  Not the brands that I would immediately attach to the two candidates but it’s an interesting observation.

Using their strength against them

In this spot we see McCain using footage of an Obama speech that praises the Republican candidate’s work on a piece of environmental legislation.  The Republican campaign’s attempt to use the fact that people believe and trust in Obama to their benefit, by pointing out that he has ONCE thought McCain has done something correct, is a truly bizarre strategy.  It comes accross like McCain is eager to seek the praise of his superior.  A truly terrible advert.


I appreciate this blog is getting fairly Obama heavy, but I just couldn’t ignore this one.  A spoof on the brilliant Budweiser ‘True’ (2000) campaign, we see the guys from the Bud advert 8 years later (i.e after 8 years of Republican government).  A brilliant viral for attracting the young, urban electorate.  If there were as many virals coming out that got to the rural and socially conservative with same accuracy, Obama’s campaign could tell the chubby lady in the wings to put down the bargain bucket and start warbling.

Obama’s 30 Minute Advert

Here in full, the Barack Obama 30 minute informercial that screened across three national broadcast channels last night.  It features the stories of four middle-class Americans and is almost entirely focused on the economic challenges that face the US.  Directed by Davis Guggenheim, of ‘Inconvenient Truth’ fame, it uses a combination of a sentimental narratives and hard hitting political documentary. 

Running an advert this long during prime viewing time is not without risks: accusations of hubris, boring the electorate, interfering with regular programming, amongst others.  Overall, I think the programme was successful in its’ aim to show the electorate exactly who Barack Obama is and what he stands for.

Measuring the Hype

How does your candidate / brand measure up online?

How does your candidate / brand measure up online?

Measuring the success of one’s campaign is, obviously, rather an important aspect of advertising.  A company called MotiveQuest has developed a way of measuring the online chatter surrounding a brand – they’ve dubbed it their ‘Online Promoter Score’.  As a showcase for their measuring technique, they’ve developed a microsite to predict the outcome of the US Presidential election.

Using the websphere to develop hype around one’s brand is a key facet to a successful campaign.  Having someone to measure your online buzz and suggest ways to improve it, is an absolute ‘must’ for any brand hoping to cut it these days.

Vote Hour


Google have recruited a host of high powered CEO’s to encourage their employees to take an hour out of their working day to go and vote.  The idea behind the spot is that the #1 reason people gave in the last US election for not voting was a lack of time. 

It’s (unsurprisingly…) well put together and it’s brilliant that these huge corporate organisations are being proactive in encouraging democracy.  However, if there is a massive turnout for this election it won’t be down to this, or various other, ‘get the vote out’ campaigns.  What leads to high turnout is a civically engaged population, educated in the issues facing them, inspired by a political message and given a clear choice at election time.  The vehicles for ensuring such circumstances are active and funded political parties.  Still, things like this can’t hurt.

The Great Schlep


This is absolutely hilarious.  The momentum that Obama’s campaign has generated is unbelievable.  There seems to be a never-ending amount of material emerging, quite independent from the official Obama campaign.   However, reaching and influencing the audience that this spot is aimed at is incredibly difficult and I wonder whether having one’s grandchildren call up and condescend to you about politics is going to benefit the Obama campaign with this demographic.  In the same breath, a nagging relative can be pretty convincing…


Picked up on this brilliant attempt by 7-Eleven to cash in the US Presidential Election on ‘Boy meets digital world’.

Coffee drinkers at 7-Elevens across America are casting their vote. Participants choose one of the two election coffee cups depending on their political preferences. The votes are being recorded and results of the favoured presidential candidate appear in USA Today as well as being tracked on the website. According to the site the 7-eleven voters have successfully predicted the result of the last two presidential elections.

Setting the Standard

The inconic piece of political advertising

The iconic piece of political advertising

For my debut post on this blog I thought I’d post THE iconic piece of political advertising.

It was produced by Saatchi&Saatchi and is credited to copywriter Andrew Rutherford and art director Martin Walsh; Jeremy Sinclair and Charles Saatchi are also said to have being hugely influential in its creation.  Tim (now Lord) Bell was the account manager who sold in the ad to (now Lady) Thatcher.

The simplicity with which the word play of the headline attributes the blame of high levels of unemployment of the time to the Labour government, whilst at the same time calling for their removal from power, is outstanding.

It worked  because it was not overly aggressive and yet delivered a devastating blow on the record of the government.  Too many ‘attack’ adverts in their aggression alienate the electorate, rather than influence them.