Candidates Are Packaged But Their Branding Needs Work

“Politicians can’t be overexposed. Since they can have a life and death effect on us, no one gets tired of them. This is not, ‘Am I going to get tired of Bruce Willis?’ We’re stuck with them. Given how much power they have, eight months of campaigning is a drop. They are the only people selling a product you can’t return. You’re buying a president for four years.” -Jerry Della Femina
Candidates today, particularly at the national level, are in many ways treated as a product, not as a man. For certain, they are packaged in a way meant to attract buyers. They are often promoted in much the same way as everyday packaged goods. But most of the ads for these men bite. Which is too bad. With the kind of budgets these campaigns come armed with, they could easily have the very best brand advertising minds working on their business. The Army has Leo Burnett, and their “Army of One” thinking. I contend that Kerry and Bush could be made more appealing, at least on TV and in print, with the help of Arnold, Martin, Goodby, Fallon, Wieden and the like.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.