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Presidential Race – Is it all about Branding?

By September 15, 2008branding

The Presidential race isn’t just about the politics, the views, and the party affiliations.  The presidential race is actually all about branding.

Presidential Race Isn’t Complete Without Slogans

Photo by Ho John Lee

The branding of a presidential candidate starts with the slogan, which typically portray that candidate’s platform.  Slogans are very grassroots in that they get repeated; they appear on posters, flyers, billboards and buttons that are handed out and displayed everywhere; and they are easily remembered.

There have been many great presidential slogans over the years; the following are some of the most famous ones:

  • “All the Way with LBJ” – 1964 slogan of Lyndon B. Johnson
  • “A Time for Greatness” – 1960 slogan of John F. Kennedy
  • “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” – 1840 slogan of William Henry Harrison
  • “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!” – 1948 slogan of Harry Truman
  • “I Like Ike” – 1952 slogan of Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Ross for Boss” – 1992 slogan of H. Ross Perot

The slogans created by the brand teams for this year’s presidential election include the following:

  • “Change We Need” – Barack Obama/John Biden
  • “Country First” – John McCain/Sarah Palin

Presidential Race is a Branding Race

Once we move on from the slogans, we get to the actual branding of the candidate themselves – how the voters view them.  Obama’s leading brands are his minority background and the fact that he is a great orator.  While some of McCain’s leading brands are Vietnam veteran and POW as well as maverick.

However, both of these candidates’ campaign marketing teams must also fight the negative brands that have been placed on their candidates by their competition’s supporters.  For example, GOP supporters have tried to brand Obama as snobby and aloof; while many of the Democratic supporters have tried to brand McCain as old and temperamental.

Now as we watch the branding of the candidates change on a daily basis, in the end, we can only hope that it is how each candidate feels about the issues that are truly important that determine the decision of the voters.

*Photo by Ho John Lee