How has Marketing impacted the presidential campaigns?
Let’s try and make this short (ish), We are all familiar with the word marketing, but what is it and does it really affect the public?
Due to the onslaught of Twitter feuds and hashtags this year, we wanted to talk about the effect of marketing in presidential campaigns.
With graphic design services being so readily available with services such as Fiverr, Thumbtack and a multitude of sites for freelancers, having a pretty poster should be mandatory at this point. But what’s the difference between making a flyer for a sale and creating an entire advertising campaign. Why take on the additional cost? With a combined total of 249 million dollars spent on media in this year’s presidential campaign, there must be something behind it.
For instance, you can’t really argue that marketing doesn’t work.
The rise of modern technology has ensured the death of many things- the craftsman, the traditional salesman and a majority of trade specialists.
Have you ever taken a second to think about how everything that seems so commonplace to us took years of research and more years of trial and error to create. People were not just born with the idea of the “BOGO,” $19.99 instead of $20.00. Even reading it you subconsciously realize that it does sound more appealing. Recent studies from Stanford University show that people will spend more money when an item is put next to the same lower priced item. Amazing right?
So the question is how have marketing campaigns affected the presidential outcome? You could argue that money spent on marketing doesn't necessarily help as shown in the oh so controversial election we just had.
Just for reference (I do not own this image)
Hillary Clinton / Donald Trump (2016)
*please note this is on design points, we are not taking any side of any mentioned candidate or winner
2016- the year of headlines, fake news stories and let’s call them controversies.
A brilliant campaign on her part. How do you tackle how to market the first female president in today's society? *Cough, cough, hashtag it.* Performer after performer, hundreds of thousands of fans, a simple line- I'm With Her.
Stronger Together, nostalgia, it's more than voting a female into the presidency. The idea seemed to be, let's vote for a future, for a heroine. So why didn’t this work? Why didn't such strong rhetoric equal a campaign win for Secretary Clinton?
There seemed to be a “pied piper” strategy when it came to messages regarding the republican candidate. For as much money that was spent on negative campaigning by opposing forces and the amount of Hillary supporters that constantly talked about the "ill equipped" president elect, it seemed to hardly make a dent in his voter base. With so much negativity constantly being discussed in the media, it almost makes you wonder whether all of the negative publicity though negative, was still publicity nonetheless. It gave him air time, and most of the American public heard nothing but Trump vs Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
I have to wonder whether or not the negative comments affected the outcome...
Make America great again.
The now iconic and divisive slogan actually doesn’t reference him directly. It simply points out an idea.
Such a simple phrase drove a nation apart. And it's not even a negative idea. But it caused such a panic and left many people distraught. Families, friends. coworkers found themselves unable to have an open conversation in the land of free speech. No one could safely announce their support for him publicly. (The Bradley Effect)
It started conversations, when did America stop being great, what makes us great?
He spent 3.2 million on hats according to “The Washington Post”. That’s 1.4 million more than his campaign spent on polling.
Politics aside, was it better to vote for a figure head or an idea?
Dwight D. Eisenhower / Adlai Stevenson (1952)
The first republican to win the white house in 20 years, Eisenhower took 83% of the electoral vote. The first televised campaign ads- Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 re-election bid. Was the first video showing an opponent in a negative light. Amidst the Cold War, “Daisy Girl” promoted the idea that Barry Goldwater would bring a nuclear war. The ad caused such distress among viewers that it only aired once.
Stevenson’s ad while catchy in its adaptation of a nursery rhyme did nothing but compare voters to animals. Maybe shock value and scare tactics win elections and Stevenson's ad wasn't hard-hitting enough.
Ike’s re-election campaign “Get Ike to the white house”. This is how you draw the people in.
Problem + Marketing = Solved
John F. Kennedy / Richard Nixon (1960)
"Old enough to know, young enough to do.”
Kennedy vs. Nixon was the first televised debate and media focused campaign. How do you combat the experienced politician with the youngest elected candidate in U.S. history?
Blast it, emphasize it, call it into the spotlight with the perfect tagline. Nixon focused on his experience and the lack thereof for his opponent- not really pushing any ideas or other facts out there. The closest election poll since 1916 with a 4 state difference. It's worth noting that this was the first year that Alaska and Hawaii could vote. The determining factor seemed to be the 17 million more democratic voters being registered. Promoting a young charismatic Kennedy increased the voter turnout in key states, similar to Obama bringing young people out to vote.
He may have lost to Kennedy but he later won with his “Nixon’s the One” campaign. Also winning his re-election campaign against George McGovern, with an ad visually displaying his plan for cuts in the armed forces during the Vietnam War. Seems like a trend, Candidates using media to highlight their military policies or those of their opponents. Sounds like effective marketing.
Bill Clinton / George H.W. Bush (1992)
“Man from Hope” Sound familiar? Take out the first two words but keep the smile. An edited version of his biographical film shown at the 1992 Democratic convention. Highlighting humble beginnings and strengthening a connection with the people. Stand behind the man, stand for the American dream, have hope.
Clinton defeated Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush with 69 percent of the electoral vote.
We will stop there in fear of beating a dead horse, Check back next Monday for a breakdown of this year’s campaigns. It wasn’t until 2000 that the digital factor became relevant in polls, policies, and advertising. We will take a look at how these campaigns incorporated the ideas of modern technology. In the meantime take a look at some slogans from past campaigns.