Pol Comm 5 Big Sell Us2008


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Lecture on election campaigning underpinned by the AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) and using the 2008 US Presidential election as a case study. Fifth lecture for final year students on the Political Communication option in Bournemouth University

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  • The O logo, designed by a graphic design company based on an idea from the team (often linked to Obama himself) is similar to a sun rising over fields but instead of golden rays it is the colours of the US flag that bathe the land. Captures Obama’s face, links him to highly symbolic all American images as well as capturing the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ themes of his campaign. Solicited and un-solicited endorsements seen as important and became part of the campaign Public involvement a tool of campaigning Centred more on him than on party or policy
  • Much focus on national security, perceived as a weakness of Obama, education, energy independence and tax cuts. Fed into the economic crisis though difficult to separate himself from the failed policies of Bush. Seen as being a party man and his only endorsers are the party. His use of music by Foo Fighters, Van Halen, Heart and Jackson Browne all led to artists making statements that this did not mean they endorsed him. Dave Grohl used a number of live performances to endorse Obama and argued Obama encapsulated the spirit of the lyrics of ‘My hero’ than McCain. Dogged by problems, even accused of pinching his logo design from the frozen food company.
  • Pol Comm 5 Big Sell Us2008

    1. 1. THE BIG SELL Lecture 5
    2. 2. Goals <ul><li>Getting Elected, getting power </li></ul><ul><li>Gaining greater share of power </li></ul><ul><li>Gaining influence and media attention </li></ul><ul><li>Getting issues onto the agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Gaining representation for a minority </li></ul>
    3. 3. The role of a campaign <ul><li>A </li></ul><ul><li>I </li></ul><ul><li>D </li></ul><ul><li>A </li></ul>
    4. 4. Have goals changed? <ul><li>“ those who assert that their sole object… should be to regain office seem to me to misconceive… British Democracy” </li></ul><ul><li>Richard Crossman, 1959 </li></ul><ul><li>“ New Labour should be obsessed with winning. Winning has to be the central aim of politics” </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Gould, 1997 </li></ul>
    5. 5. Art or Science <ul><li>Political campaigning described as art! </li></ul><ul><li>All other campaigns are science </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AIDA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are the motives different? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exchange? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of something desired? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Action may not gain that which is desired </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hence action not necessary / not taken </li></ul>
    6. 6. Strategy <ul><li>The campaign team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From Party to Cadre </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The war room </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Millbank model </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Diary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Day to day planning of a campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rapid Rebuttal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Spinning to victory” </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. The Tools <ul><li>Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcasts </li></ul><ul><li>Media Stunts / Pseudo-Events </li></ul><ul><li>The meeting, rally or conference </li></ul><ul><li>Direct Mail </li></ul><ul><li>Websites </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking and Interactivity </li></ul>
    8. 8. The Hype <ul><li>It is a media spectacle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>language of war or sport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>gaffes are favourites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Politicians try to be media focused </li></ul><ul><ul><li>human interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stunts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expose opponents weaknesses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effects the image of politics! </li></ul>
    9. 9. The Substance <ul><li>The Leader </li></ul><ul><li>The Party / Personalities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>national (macro) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Locally (micro) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Policies </li></ul><ul><li>The Themes/Messages </li></ul>
    10. 10. The battle for nomination <ul><li>Media hype from Day 1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The election of firsts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Close fight v Runaway Victory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Branding <ul><li>Obama </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ of the people’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leading a movement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For: ‘the little guy’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>McCain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ a statesman’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A political celebrity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ a reformer’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>anti-corruption </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Vice Presidents <ul><li>Making up for inexperience </li></ul><ul><li>Going for the female vote </li></ul><ul><li>Adding glamour & novelty </li></ul>
    13. 13. The real battle
    14. 14. Promoting the brand - Obama <ul><li>Sender LLC and the ‘O’ logo </li></ul><ul><li>Biographical advertising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$27 million and counting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Celebrity Endorsement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>will-i-am, Joss Stone, Oprah </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Email as a mobilisation tool </li></ul><ul><li>Public endorsements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The video wall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obama Girl/YouTube </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Promoting the brand - McCain <ul><li>Issue based – ‘the serious politician’ </li></ul><ul><li>Endorsed by the party </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bush, Nancy Reagan, NRA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An attacking campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parodied by Paris Hilton after referencing her </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Endorsements failed </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising by 32 lobbyists, not the public </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional campaign, little innovation </li></ul>
    16. 16. Obama’s Fundraising <ul><li>Became his USP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A record $150 million for Sept 2008 alone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Talked of a broken system of insider dealing </li></ul><ul><li>Made a pact with his supporters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ you are my campaign, you choose to support me and I will support you when I am elected. But to make this dream a reality I need your continued support” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strong local dimension similar to church fundraising – parties/coffee mornings etc </li></ul>
    17. 17. Do campaigns matter? <ul><li>Less people have loyalties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need convincing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses & gratifications theory </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BES finds a lot of ‘wait and sees’ (25%) </li></ul><ul><li>Research indicates 18% in US </li></ul><ul><li>Events can swing opinion polls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2001 Prescott & Letwin benefited Labour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Palin effect? Colin Powell effect? </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. The case against <ul><li>It’s the economy, stupid! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Polls are snapshots and event led </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Doesn’t always mirror the ballot </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The heartlands are key – and unassailable </li></ul><ul><li>Only a minority are motivated to engage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ELM </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A strong record is worth far more than a strong campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Tories 1987/1992, Blair 2001/2005) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In US neither have a record </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Thoughts for discussion <ul><li>Do Campaigns matter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why, when, how? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does AIDA apply – why or why not? </li></ul><ul><li>Are political campaigns for voters or the media (is there a difference?)? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does the ELM explain why few UK voters are engaged but in the US 35% of electorate watched the debate live? </li></ul>