The dominance of the irrational

Political campaign guru Evan Tracey has compiled a playlist of videos and analysis from throughout the Obama vs McCain campaign that is well worth a look at.

The above video came from Tracey’s playlist and is an example of the sort of emotive advertising, that I mentioned earlier in the week, was badly needed in UK political communication. Brian Donahue just a wrote a very interesting piece on political advertising and emotion that is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in this stuff, the crux of this thoughts are that:

“Emotional appeals almost always trump rational appeals when attempting to gain political support or create negative views about an opponent. Voters are more apt to create positive or negative feelings about an issue or candidate through emotions and sentiments rather than rational or logical arguments”

Let the issue be the issue

Let issue be the issue
Let the issue be the issue
In this poster, put up in Manhattan on the eve of poll, Barck Obama is turned into a white man and John McCain is made black.  The poster is designed to make the electorate focus on policy and not race.  This style of photographic manipulation has been used by the ‘Kick racism out of football’ campaign in the UK and always powerfully relates the futility of those that judge people on the basis of their skin.  A fantastic poster and hopefully an effectual one.

The YouTube Election

The YouTube Election
The YouTube Election

There’s been a load of articles in the last few days about the US Election being the first YouTube election.  Here’s a particularly good one with reference to the situation in the UK by Noelle McElhatton. 

UK political parties are so far behind their American counterparts in many facets of marketing, but particular with regards to digital.  We’ve yet to experience a truly internet influenced election.  I recently wrote a research paper on the online campaigns of candidates in The Labour Party’s Deputy Leadership election of 2007 (if you’d like a copy drop me a comment); essentially the findings were ‘could do significantly better’ .  Use of video clips was minimal on campaign sites, YouTube was virtually empty of content and a few candidates sites were barely updated throughout the campaign.

I’ll be amazed (but delighted!) if, come the next general election in the UK, I’ll have a quarter as much content to be able to refer to as I’ve had for Obama vs McCain.

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.

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.


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.