Slogan-stealing

Barack Obama has built his presidential candidacy bid on the theme of “Change.” It has become a slogan, a piece of common political parlance in this season, which, from a marketing perspective, is a great accomplishment. While you’d like to have a bunch of people who can articulately explain what they’d like to see by way of “change,” their votes count just as much as those who can only say that they want something different than the status quo, without being able to explain or defend what a candidate actually stands for.

The McCain ticket understands this, and they want to steal the thunder by saying that they (the “outsiders,” the “mavericks,” the proven agents of actual change in the past) are the real candidates representing change.

And, of course, the Obama campaign is doing everything they can to tie McCain/Palin to the 8 years of the prior administration. While McCain/Palin now tries to paint Obama/Biden into the corner of representing the failed policies of a do-nothing Congress.

I think Obama will be able to maintain the veneer of being the primary change agent in this election, because he’s owned the message longer, and tapped deeply into voter dissatisfaction. However, the Republicans are skillfully chipping away at this brand image. Will Obama keep the change? It’ll be an interesting couple of months coming up, in this branding warfare about who truly represents change!

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

2 Responses to Slogan-stealing

  1. I’ve been giggling about this for a few months, now. I had to simply roll my eyes when the Democrats (Hillary and Barack) were both trying to position themselves as “Change Agents.” Then, as soon as the Primarys were over, McCain rolls out with his spin on “Change…”

    I agree that Obama has “Change” tagged and is originally identified with the phrase (this election), but with the constant “one uppin'” from both parties, I’m finding it hard to believe, relate, or trust anything that is labeled “Change…”

    So, with that, when does a message get “commoditized?” After everyone has said it, who do you believe is right? From a branding standpoint, do you think it was wise for McCain to jump on the “Change” bandwagon? How did that (really) differentiate his campaign?

    I’m interested to see what happens in the next month. Thanks for the great tie into branding from the election point-of-view… Truly Sticky…

    Keep Cooking!
    Andrew B. Clark
    -The Brand Chef

  2. Andrew, thanks for stopping by. I think that McCain was smart to jump onto the “change” bandwagon, if only to try to neutralize the message. Now he needs to carve out something distinct and powerful that Obama cannot co-opt.

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