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Who Has Best Copywriting Team: John McCain Or Barack Obama?

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Who Has Best Copywriting Team: John McCain Or Barack Obama?

Postby Bensettle » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:49 pm

Who's got the best copywriting/marketing team:

John McCain or Barack Obama?

Not who you like better (let's not go there...) but who do you think is doing better ads?

I'm going to have to go with McCain at the moment.

Barack's boys are doing some interesting marketing on the Internet. (Although how well his online leads will "convert" is still in question until election day).

But the way McCain's boys are pulling video footage from Barack's speeches -- the ultimate form of proof, unlike most of the dorky local political ads we're seeing where I live, which are just still images and short text sound bytes that always sound out of context -- to make their points is interesting.

Anyway, considering the obscene amounts of money that goes into creating these political ads each election, it's useful to see what they're doing to try and persuade large numbers of people to vote one way or another.

Especially since even the crappy stuff can be useful (as an example of what NOT to do).

So that's my humble opinion on the subject so far. (And could change, depending on what happens in the coming weeks).

But what about you?

Which camp do you think is creating better, more persuasive, ads right now:

McCain or Obama?

And why?

Ben
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Postby AnitaAshland » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:20 pm

I'm not on McCain's email list so I haven't had the opportunity to compare the two.

I wasn't very impressed with Obama's email marketing the last few months but the past week or so Obama's email marketing has been excellent. Short paragraphs, strong call to action, good subject lines.

Today they sent out an email in Obama's name with the video of Michelle's speech. Yesterday they sent out an email in Michelle's name encouraging everyone to watch the convention.

I'll have to sign up for McCain's list so I can start comparing.
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:42 am

Interesting question! Here's another analysis...

Ad quality should be measured against how well the ad supports the overall strategy of a campaign. As example, an ad can be very clever, sharp, polished etc, but if the ad isn't "on message" it can still be a bad ad.

How do you see the bottom line of this campaign?

Is it a contest to see who can do the better job of firing up their base?

Or...

Is this a fight over independent swing voters in the middle?

If you see this as a "fire up the base" campaign, both campaigns are doing pretty well, with perhaps McCain ads currently taking a slight lead.

If you see this as a "win the independents" campaign, most of the advertising pretty well sucks, with perhaps Obama a bit on top.

As a still undecided swing voter myself, I started off with great hopes for both candidates, and have been steadily discouraged as both resort to the same old attack ads. Where is the "new kind of politics" BOTH candidates promised? I don't see it.

McCain did invite Obama to do the town halls, and Obama is keeping a lower attack profile than say, Clinton would have. Points for that.

But other than that, the advertising campaigns of both candidates are saying to this viewer, "I am not a leader for the future, but a more of the samer from the past".

It's a double whammy, because both candidates promised something better than this, and because neither are delivering on that promise, both lose credibility on one of their key selling points.

What would a "new kind of politics" look like?

Either candidate could have shown true leadership by pledging not to run any ads. TV ads are why politicians have to spend almost all their time sucking up to big money people.
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What I would love to see...

Postby Stephen Davies » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:08 pm

What I would love to see is a candidate who completely ignores their opponent altogether. :shock:

The person could still address some of the questions and objections thrown at him/her by the competition, but never name the other candidate (in name) or acknowledge that they are actually answering specific questions/objections by the other candidate.

Of course, after a while this may cause some voters to believe the candidate doing this is a bit arrogant, but still, it would be fun to watch and at the same time put this candidate on a higher level than the other.

It would definitely be interesting to see how this scenario would play out. :D

... Just pretend the other candidate doesn't exist (hahaha) !
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Re: What I would love to see...

Postby Publisher-For-You » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:33 pm

Stephen Davies wrote:What I would love to see is a candidate who completely ignores their opponent altogether. :shock:


Yes! Well said.

They could spend the saved time talking about their own positive vision for the future. If they have one.

Imagine this, the candidates:

1) don't run ads

2) don't travel

3) thus, can drastically cut back the time they spend on fund raising

4) set up their headquarters in the same building.

Each day of the election season the candidates could sit down together to be interviewed by another group of experts, activists, journalists, etc. The Charlie Rose Show is a good model here.

The staffs would be free of the campaign rat race to a large degree, and could spend their time preparing their candidates for these interviews, thus learning all the issues in some detail.

And, the people who get all their understanding of the issues from ads, could be excused from bothering to vote. Give them a coupon to go shopping online instead! :-)
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Postby nar321 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:14 pm

I'm in agreement with the last poster.
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Postby Kyle Tully » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:29 pm

nar321 wrote:I'm in agreement with the last poster.


Thanks for taking the time to let us know.
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Postby alstone » Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:56 am

Hi,

Although not born in the U.S., neither a U.S. resident, and giving Ben's question some thought here's my answer...

Considering the current state of politics - not only in the U.S., read: discrepancy and gap between politicians' talk and walk, gutter politics practices, politcal cynicism, corruption, etc... the best marketing team would be the one which is unnecessary to the promotion and election of the whatever-election-candidate.

Here's why...

The best candidate him/herself would be the one who *earned* the most trust, admiration and respect from its fellow citizens by being consistent in his/her words, actions and results, being believable, authentic, an example of service, contribution, listening and compassion - instead of arrogance and bullyness hiding between an illusionary military "power", who practices integrity - instead of relying on fake fabricated popularity, who uses the powers giving to him/her to serve and to the benefit of all concerned - instead of chasing power for acquiring power itself, thereby making the necessity of a marketing team doing nothing other than spreading the candidate's lies, squander, stupid and futile ego-talk obsolete.

Although we're still far, far away from this ideal picture...

Good luck with the upcoming elections.

Best,
Alan

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right. ~ H.L. Mencken, 1956
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Postby mattmarshall » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:25 am

Hi Ben:

Interesting topic.

I actually think the Obama camp is doing a better job.

Here's why:

It seems like both camps have a "central theme" that they are going to repeatedly touch on.

The Mccain camp seems to be going with the "Obama is a celebrity" theme and the Obama camp seems to be going with "Mccain as president will be 4 more years of the Bush administration."

Why do I think the Obama camp is doing a better job?

Well, because this is America and we freakin' WORSHIP celebrities. So if you want to attack someone, calling them a "celebrity" is not the best way to go about it.

So while the Mccain camp compares Obama to the world's most watched celebrities, the Obama camp is reminding us that Mccain has seven houses and is willing to fight the unpopular war in Iraq for the next 100 years.

That's my two cents.

Matt
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:42 am

mattmarshall wrote:Well, because this is America and we freakin' WORSHIP celebrities. So if you want to attack someone, calling them a "celebrity" is not the best way to go about it.


Great point!

In a way McCain is illustrating he's at least a bit out of touch with _today's_ audience by making this pitch.

McCain's pitch actually has some validity, imho.

And his pitch would have probably hit the target well in earlier decades, with previous generations.

But, whatever the value of his point, we are no longer in those earlier decades, and as Matt so correctly points out, we currently freakin worship celebrities.

The challenge for Obama will be in understanding that celebrity is a very fickle and temporary thing in our culture. We get bored VERY easily, and constantly demand new heros.

If Obama wins, as seems likely, he will face the challenge of quickly transferring his celebrity status to some other role, before the inevitable "why Obama sucks" stories begin to roll, a routine part of the celebrity process.
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Postby Bensettle » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:23 pm

What I would love to see is a candidate who completely ignores their opponent altogether.


Stephen, that sounds nice... but that would be sooooo boring. :wink:

Half the fun of these elections is the little whizzing matches these guys (and gals, now that Gov. Palin's entered the fray) get in.

It's more fun (and amusing) than going to a real, live circus. :D

They don't call politics "America's favorite indoor sport" for nuthin'...

Ben
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Postby Bensettle » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:31 pm

Hey Matt,

I hear ya on the celebrity thing... I just wonder if that's going to work in Obama's favor or not?

Obama did such a good job of convincing the media and his supporters he's some kind of squeaky-clean politician-of-change with no dirt on him (they ALL have some dirt) that I suspect any speck of dirt is going to have way more impact than it normally would if it were anyone else.

Kind of like when Dan Kennedy was told by a veteran speaker when he first started his speaking career: "Be careful how well you promote yourself in this business when you're just starting, all you'll do is speed up the pace at which people realize you're no good..." (paraphrased, it went something like that).

Anyway, should be interesting to watch either way...

Ben
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:23 am

What I would love to see is a candidate who completely ignores their opponent altogether.


Bensettle wrote:Stephen, that sounds nice... but that would be sooooo boring. :wink:


Coupla things...

First, when you've seen 4 or 5 more of these election cycles, you might conclude that seeing the same silly juvenile circus over and over and over again, gets pretty boring.

More to the point of this thread: copywriting, ads, selling.

47 million people don't have health insurance, and some of them, kids included, will probably die from this. Boring?

If we don't get our energy act together, we can look forward to $10/gallon gas. Boring?

The world is still jam packed with nuclear weapons, and guys who'd like to use them, on us. Boring?

Congress is taking YOUR hard earned money, and whizzing it away on all kinds of nonsense. Your money. Down the drain. For nothing. Boring?

Obviously, we could go on with these examples for quite some time.

Doesn't the daily drivel whizzing contest point to the fact that the ad writers for the campaigns are too lame to make these life and death type topics interesting?

Obama has a goofy pastor, McCain has more houses than somebody else. What? Are we 9 years old??
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Postby Bensettle » Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:25 am

Relax Publisher, this is about advertising, not the "issues" -- which nobody ever said were boring (just the idea of two guys talking about them without acknowledging each other, which will never happen anyway).

This ain't the place to discuss political issues or disagreements.

Now, as for your advertising thought... are the ads silly?

Some may seem like it.

But even if they are, they are designed to hit certain hot buttons.

Take that pastor stuff, for example.

In West Virginia, all that media exposure on him crippled Obama in that state during the primaries. (If memory serves, Hillary took it in a landslide).

And I suspect McCain's people will trot that stuff out again in their ads in that area during the general campaign -- it's a proven "hot button" issue for them.

This stuff is all relative -- like ALL marketing -- to who they are targeting, and not everyone as a whole all the time.

That's why these guys will spend most of their money on ads in the so-called "battle ground" states (like Virginia, for example), and all but ignore the ones they know they have a lock on (or the ones they know they will never win.)

Ben
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Postby Publisher-For-You » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:13 pm

Hi Ben, good discussion man. Thanks for launching it.

This ain't the place to discuss political issues or disagreements.

I agree. And I am relaxed. :-)

Please note, I am NOT arguing for or against any issue or candidate.

I AM talking about promotion and selling the candidate.

In this cycle, when both candidates rose to the top largely on their promises of "a new kind of politics", what kind of promotion content is most on message?

In West Virginia, all that media exposure on him crippled Obama in that state during the primaries.

This stuff is all relative -- like ALL marketing -- to who they are targeting, and not everyone as a whole all the time.


And you and I know what ads were run in West Virginia, because this is a national campaign, with instant news available to all via the Net and TV. There is no targeting. It's not 1948 anymore.

Did the pastor stuff do Clinton any good?

No, she lost.

The Dems decided they didn't want a fighter, but a healer. They didn't want the trivial stuff, but rather, a big positive vision.

Again, I'm not taking a position for or against any candidate.

I'm trying to objectively observe, America is growing up. We're maturing past some of the juvenile nonsense of the past, such as "clever" divisive and trivial hot button marketing.

Your generation is leading the way in many respects. You young guys are too media savvy for it to work.

We nominated McCain, a work across the aisle Republican. We nominated Obama, the less divisive of the Dems.

We nominated a black. We nominated a woman.

Karl Rowe, famous engineer of the "fire up your base" strategy, has taken his boss to some of the lowest approval ratings in generations.

It's a new day, a different game.

The guy who gets elected will probably be the one who most convincingly promotes the fact that he gets this.

Thanks again for the thread. Ok, over to you!
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