This is not an endorsement of either John McCain or Barack Obama. I don’t want to bring politics to this blog. But communication stategy? That’s worth talking about in this forum.
Frustrated with the media attention Obama’s been receiving, the McCain camp created the following ad (I assume as online content as it’s way too long for primetime)…
Does the McCain team have a point that the media is favoring Obama? Sure. Is it fair to say that just because the media prefer one candidate, that’s no reason to vote for them? Again, sure. What the McCain people really want to say is, “Don’t listen to the talking heads. Look at the issues and make your own decision. Ignore the media.” That’s a decent argument. But, at least with this piece, it’s communicated all wrong.
And here’s the problem: When you try attacking emotion, you’re fighting an uphill battle. I wrote about this in an earlier post. Whether you agree with Obama’s politics or not, you can’t attack him by discrediting the way people feel about him. You end up insulting the people you’re trying to communicate with. “That’s how you feel? Well, let me tell you why you’re wrong.” Not the best way to be persuasive.
How does this affect you as a young advertising professional? Understand that facts are good. And you should use them to your client’s advantage. But you can’t build your entire case on them. You need emotion. You need that thrill going up Chris Matthew’s leg.
(As a side note, the original piece featured Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” But since the rights to the song were never cleared, the original was pulled. What you see here is a second generation edit with some elevator music and the “Paid for by John McCain for President” stripped off the back end.)