Sunday, December 31, 2006

Branding and Politics

Branding gadfly Rob Frankel has a post on the three leading Democratic presidential contenders that is both uproarious and sadly true. Hopefully he'll do the same for the Republicans. There are plenty of lessons here for businesspeople as well as politicos.

Here's what he had to say about Hillary, Barack, and John Edwards:

Hillary Clinton: By not stating and implementing a clear brand strategy, Hillary is doomed to forever be perceived as a mean, ambitious and somewhat condescending bitch. She can coif her hair any way she wishes, but unless she reins in that pompous arrogance that radiates from her like a lighthouse beacon on a moonless ocean night, she's hosed.

Barack Obama: Just as William Goldman once observed in Adventures in the Screen Trade, "In the future, there will be no more movies, only deals," Obama is not a man. He's a package. Crafted carefully to crack the all white veneer of presidential politics, he is conveniently mixed race, which plays well to our media-driven society. Everywhere you see him, you never hear anyone talk about his policies or opinions. Instead, you hear comments like, "He's so bright and charismatic." The translation: "Maybe this is a black guy we can vote for."Obama is smart. And charismatic. And trades well on his racial appearance. But then again, so is Halle Berry and you don't see her tossing her hat into the presidential race.

John Edwards: To me, Edwards is the Christie Brinkley of presidential politics. Nice to look at, but you'd never take him seriously. Throughout the country, talking heads jabber on about how appealing he is to women. Of course he's appealing to women. He's a good looking guy. But on that premise, George Clooney should be running for president, not some ambulance chaser who got rich off other people's misery.