Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Hillary Problem: Bad Branding or Just Bad Timing?

Imagine the Democratic candidates as brands, if you will. Like Brawny and Bounty. Or as The New York Times would suggest, Mac and PC. From a marketing/advertising perspective, Hillary is clearly the lesser in terms of brand warfare. And this AdWeek Article from ad critic Barbara Lippert offers a number of rationales for her brand blunders.

At first, being in advertising by trade, I reviewed these articles and a plethora of additional blog posts and I found myself apt to agree. Now I really just wonder if it's really awful timing.

It's not so much bad branding for Hillary. It's that, first female powerhouse nominee or no, she's still a product of the last generation of politicos. At the same time, Barack isn't a new brand of politician. He's a new kind of politician. He's not a Mac. He's an iPhone. A next-generation of convergent technologies for a new generation of voters. And when it comes to experience, in terms of products like iPhone, it's experience be damned - how many people really said, "I'm not going to buy an iPhone because it's not proven yet" and actually followed through? Even with its flaws, and even among the most ardent Apple fanatics who held out (including our own blogmaster Bedell), the iPhone has become a ginormous hit. Why? Because it's simply a game changer. Like Barack.

It's not the branding. It's the product. It's not that Hills is the PC to Obama's Mac. She's the cell phone to his iPhone.

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