Friday, September 5, 2008

Product, Place, Price, Promotion

It's been interesting the past few weeks (at least for me) watching the Democrat's and Republican's conventions. After a lifetime in sales in marketing, I tend to view everything in terms of those two disciplines: What are they trying to sell; who are they targeting to sell it to; how are they attempting to sell it; what benefits are they asserting. The old four "P"'s of Marketing: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.

Many have commented on the Democrat's packaging of Barack Obama: the objective, present him to the market as a sophisticated, insightful, fearless, determined, charismatic, orator and leader, who transcends race and politics, with enough experience to lead this country out of its 50/50 partisan deadlock. The problem they have: he's not really all of the above; not even the orator part. He's an exceptional reader of prepared scripts, he is determined, and he is very perceptive (which is why he's not a great orator; in un-scripted dialog, he hems and haws over each word, weighing it's consequences as the lawyer experience has taught him he must do). So, as in all effective marketing campaigns, packaging and promotion are key. No appearances on Fox News, where he may be challenged and put in an awkward situation. No "Town Hall" style debates with McCain where Obama's labored response style would give McCain an advantage. Pre-empt all critiques by stating that the opposition will call attention to all his deficiencies, and stating that they're really not. Use surrogates to do the dirty work of injecting race, or the opponent’s age, and enforce the discipline of staying on-message.

Beef up the lack of foreign policy experience by holding a rally (with a music concert by a very popular German rock band as the warm-up to ensure lots of crowds) in Berlin (kind ‘a like making an ice cream and calling it Häagen-Dazs, so it would seem imported).

None of the above is new. In fact, it's common and accepted practice. But there is a problem; we've become an exceptionally astute consumer citizenry. People read the ingredients on the labels of almost everything that they buy now; does it have nuts; trans-fats; MSG; how much sodium; HFCS? It's not a far leap from packaged food to packaged candidates. People want to know more. What did he do as a community organizer; who did he associate with; how did he amass his wealth; what legislation did he initiate, who opposed it, and how was he successful in persevering and winning? Who provided the funding that enabled a first term Senator to build the staff and machine to launch onto the market packaged as effectively as an iPhone?

The Republican’s, on the other hand, have had a different set of issues. As conservatives, by nature, they’re not a cohesive group. They believe in individualism, not collectivism. They’re not known for radical anything; they don’t introduce new, and they don’t want to change much of anything, and they don’t want anybody telling them what to do, let alone tell anybody else what to do. Kind ‘a like white bread, or chicken. The challenge is to come up with a Wonder Bread, or Perdue campaign that would brand them in a way that would effectively differentiate them from the competitor. John McCain, despite his known war-hero record, and “maverick” label, has been perceived as white bread or chicken. Yeah, good for you, but not really appetizing. Now the Republican have whole grain bread with cinnamon, nuts and raisins, and chicken parmigiana!

Then, voilà, like all great product ideas, a brilliant element is stumbled upon…..Sarah Palin!

Now the Republican have whole grain bread with cinnamon, nuts and raisins, and chicken parmigiana!

Like all good marketing campaigns, a flawless roll-out is paramount to success, and despite all the contingency and back-up plans, stuff happens. There's almost two months to go. Let's see which one turns out to be Beta-Max, and which one VHS.........

The Resentment Strategy

......But don’t be fooled either by Mr. McCain’s long-ago reputation as a maverick or by Ms. Palin’s appealing persona: the Republican Party, now more than ever, is firmly in the hands of the angry right, which has always been much bigger, much more influential and much angrier than its counterpart on the other side.

What’s the source of all that anger?

Some of it, of course, is driven by cultural and religious conflict: fundamentalist Christians are sincerely dismayed by Roe v. Wade and evolution in the curriculum. What struck me as I watched the convention speeches, however, is how much of the anger on the right is based not on the claim that Democrats have done bad things, but on the perception — generally based on no evidence whatsoever — that Democrats look down their noses at regular people.

Thus Mr. Giuliani asserted that Wasilla, Alaska, isn’t “flashy enough” for Mr. Obama, who never said any such thing. And Ms. Palin asserted that Democrats “look down” on small-town mayors — again, without any evidence.

What the G.O.P. is selling, in other words, is the pure politics of resentment; you’re supposed to vote Republican to stick it to an elite that thinks it’s better than you. Or to put it another way, the G.O.P. is still the party of Nixon..........MORE

Sarah Palin: it's go west, towards the future of conservatism

Her thrilling convention speech showed that the Governor of Alaska is a force to reckoned with. But she might be more than that

The best line I heard about Sarah Palin during the frenzied orgy of chauvinist condescension and gutter-crawling journalistic intrusion that greeted her nomination for vice-president a week ago came from a correspondent who knows a thing or two about Alaska.
“What's the difference between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama?”
“One is a well turned-out, good-looking, and let's be honest, pretty sexy piece of eye-candy.

Why Obama's "Community Organizer" Days Are a Joke

By Michelle Malkin

In a crack-of-dawn e-mail to Obama's followers hours after Giuliani and Palin spoke, campaign manager David Plouffe attempted to gin up faux outrage (and, more importantly, donations) by claiming grave offense on the part of community organizers everywhere. Fumed Plouffe:

"Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed. Let's clarify something for them right now. Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies."

Let me clarify something. Nobody is mocking community organizers in church basements and community centers across the country working to improve their neighbors' lives. What deserves ridicule is the notion that Obama's brief stint as a South Side rabble-rouser for tax-subsidized, partisan nonprofits qualifies as executive experience you can believe in.

What deserves derision is "community organizing" that relies on a community of homeless people and ex-cons to organize for the purpose of registering dead people to vote, shaking down corporations and using the race card as a bludgeon.......

Obama's community organizing days involved training grievance-mongers from the far-left ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). The ACORN mob is infamous for its bully tactics (which they dub "direct actions"); Obama supporters have recounted his role in organizing an ambush on a government planning meeting about a landfill project opposed by Chicago's minority lobbies.......ACORN's political arm endorsed Obama in February and has ramped up efforts to register voters across the country. In the meantime, completely ignored by the mainstream commentariat and clean-election crusaders, the Obama campaign admitted failing to report $800,000 in campaign payments to ACORN. They were disguised as payments to a front group called "Citizen Services, Inc." for "advance work.".........  MORE....  

I have a feeling that the Obama camp won't be emphasizing "community organizer" on his resume anymore.....


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