“Change” The Way Presidents Are Marketed

Peter Feld at Ad Age thinks that the Obama campaign’s appeal to Millennials is playbook perfect.

Wrote Newsweek’s Andrew Romano, “Obama is the first presidential candidate to be marketed like a high-end consumer brand.” His rising-sun logo echoes the one-world iconography of Pepsi, AT&T and Apple.
Design guru Michael Bierut told Romano that the stand-alone logo, consistent use of the Gotham typeface (“very American … conversational and pleasant”) and his online look and feel make Mr. Obama the first candidate with a “coherent, top-to-bottom, 360-degree system at work. … There’s an absolute level of control that I have trouble achieving with my corporate clients.”

Yet, I thought Millennials too savvy for such a polished image. I thought they could spot an ad from a mile away and side step it.
What makes the Obama brand so appealing to Millennials? If we are to believe the pros quoted above, it’s Obama’s careful precision, his sense of effortless control.
Danny G. adds:
The Obama team is also doing some precision target marketing. While filming a video in a barbershop in Columbus, GA, I spotted the following sign:

Barbershops catering to the African-American community are centers of conversation, and the Obama team knows it.
In parts of south Florida, the campaign is busy getting out the vote.

“There are nearly 600,000 eligible but unregistered black voters across the state,” said Bobby Gravitz, an Obama campaign spokesman. “We dropped off posters, registration materials, and we will continue going in barbershops and beauty salons until Oct. 6.”
While the campaign is still organizing its list of barbershops and salons, staff members and volunteers worked shops in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill and Lauderdale Lakes in Broward County and Lake Park in Palm Beach County. They plan to target more shops in southern Palm Beach County in the future, Gravitz said.

I still believe it’s the most sophisticated marketing effort I’ve ever seen.



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.