Finding Meaning Where There Is None

What do you think about when the words “Country First” are attached to an ad? John McCain, who has adopted this tag as his campaign slogan, would like you to think that he’s a patriot genuinely concerned with your problems. Yet, there are so many ways to read this line. I read it like this: […]

More Obamarketing

I’ve written before about Barack Obama’s sophisticated marketing machine. Today’s Salon reveals even more: Now Obama’s campaign is aiming to be ahead of even the GOP’s standard in applying sophisticated data mining techniques across the board, supported by all the traditional canvassing, door-knocking and other work it’s been doing. The campaign is collecting some of […]

Surprise Attacks Okay. Smart Attacks Even Better.

Vinny Minchillo, chief creative officer of Scott Howell & Company, writing in Ad Age, says he’s working to improve political advertising and that the category is “one of the last great untamed creative opportunities.” Focus group after focus group, for political and traditional clients alike, shows that people hate attack advertising. At least, what they […]

RNC Frames One of This Year’s Defining Issues

The Republican National Committee has dropped $3.4 million to blast Barack Obama’s energy policy on television in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Brad Todd, with the firm OnMessage Inc., created the spot and said it would air through next week. Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan slapped back, saying McCain promises to “continue the Bush approach of […]

McCain Feels The Love

One of the things we rarely see in consumer advertising is a back-and-forth message sparring between 2 brands. That’s why the political season is so fascinating to me. And while I’m not a McCain supporter, this is a pretty sharply written spot: UPDATE: Well, maybe the McCain team isn’t deserving of all the credit. The […]

Do What The Client Says. Or Else.

According to The Financial Times, a Y&R subsidiary in Zimbabwe has been assisting the re-election campaign of Robert Mugabe. Below, an example ad courtesy of British political commentator Iain Dale. Now that the light has been shined on this batch of cockroaches, WPP is divesting itself of the Y&R subsidiary. I really like the “100%” […]

Barack Is Red, White and Blue

The ad above–Obama’s first of the general election–starts to air today in 18 states, including usual battlegrounds such as Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and some traditionally Republican states where Obama hopes to make inroads, including Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, and Virginia. “America is a country of strong families and strong values. […]

Tim Russert, R.I.P.

photo by Josh Hallett I wish there was someone in advertising, or business in general, who would interview executives and management buffoons with the same relentlessness that Tim Russert interviewed politicians. I can’t even count how many industry conferences and events I’ve been to where the questions asked of speakers or panelists were stupid and […]