Wednesday, November 5, 2008

AdAge: Obama Makes Marketing History

On October 6, I posted on Huffington Post an analysis from my friend Patt Cottingham that impressed me. She limned seven cogent reasons why the Obama brand was better than McCain's. See Brand Expert Scores Obama v. McCain 7 Ways.

Now Obama has been elected President and AdAge announces today that November 4, 2008 is the biggest day for marketing in universal history. President-Elect Obama's "Change" theme gets this all-time cosmic award. Here's the picture (as if you need to see another) and what AdAge had to say about it.

Take a relatively unknown man. Younger than all of his opponents. Black. With a bad-sounding name. Consider his first opponent: the best-known woman in America, connected to one of the most successful politicians in history. Then consider his second opponent: a well-known war hero with a long, distinguished record as a U.S. senator. Obama owns the 'change' idea in voters' minds. It didn't matter. Barack Obama had a better marketing strategy than either of them.
Barack Obama used "Change" as the "big truth."
If you tell the truth often enough and keep repeating it, the truth gets bigger and bigger, creating an aura of legitimacy and authenticity. Hillary Clinton first tried "experience." When she saw the progress Mr. Obama was making, she shifted to "Countdown to change." Then when the critics pointed out her me-too approach, she shifted to "Solutions for America." What word is associated with Ms. Clinton today? I don't know, do you?
AdAge gives three marketing reasons for the triumph of Obama's campaign:
1. Simplicity. About 70 percent of the population thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. Hence a smart focus on "change."
2. Consistency. Most advertisers try to "communicate". They should be trying to "position" consistently.
3. Relevance. "If you're losing the battle, shift the battlefield." Obama forced his opponents to devote much of their campaign time discussing changes they proposed for the country and showing why they were different from Obama's.