Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rebranding Democrats and Republicans

In the era of meta-advertising techniques, we see fewer traditional "Brand A vs. Brand B" campaigns. One exception is the advertising of political candidates or ballot initiatives, although as this advertising may begin to migrate from television screens, this may be changing. That's why it is particularly interesting to see the online political action group MoveOn.org soliciting user-generated feedback from its membership about four possible spots for broadcast or webcast, all of which use the "Brand A vs. Brand B" technique. These ads jettison the traditional "Republican" and "Democrat" labels in favor of the seemingly nonpartisan "Progressive" and "Conservative" political brands, which may also be a smart strategy for reaching the independent voters who have rejected party affiliation.

I was interested to also note that two of the ads were parodies of the much imitated Mac vs. PC spots in which a younger, hipper character talks to an older, stodgier character against a neutral white background, which has been updated recently to mock the new Microsoft operating system Vista. To get a sense of how the original ad is being adapted elsewhere, you can see these U.K. versions of the Mac vs. PC scenario. And, of course, this isn't the only parody. Check out the religious critique in "I'm a Christ Follower," the joking about the implied homoeroticism of the spot about two men checking each other out in "The Unspoken Message," and the pro-Democratic party politics in this ad and that one.

When it comes to political activism among the well-rated YouTube videos, I might say this Register to Vote video aimed at single women displays much higher production values.

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