Election Season Provides A Window Into the Making of a Political Brand

This radio spot from “consistent conservative” Rick Santorum helped the former Senator from Pennsylvania, go toe-to-toe with establishment candidate Mitt Romney yesterday in Iowa.

From a media perspective, Santorum’s showing — he lost to Romney by just 8 votes — overshadows how well Ron Paul did in Iowa. Paul’s liberterian ideas had a lot of traction in the state, as evidenced by 21.4% of the vote.

Now, on to New Hampshire with this circus. Will Paul’s desire for a lean and mean government play in the fiercely independent Granite State? Will Santorum’s religious right rhetoric catch on like a revival? Or will Romney, who owns a home in New Hampshire, prevail because he’s the sensible candidate with the deepest pockets?

From an advertising perspective, Romney’s attack ads in Iowa knocked Newt from his false perch. Will Romney turn his canon on Paul or Santorum now? For Romney to win the election in November, he’s going to need the help of Christian conservatives, many who think Mormons are not Christians. That fact may keep Santorum safe, at least for now.



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.