In this final week of campaigning there is an advertising blitz going on designed to help people make their decision before election day. The only conclusion that all this advertising leads me to: I'm really glad that our firm specializes in tourism, hospitality and foodservice and not political campaigns.
One of our core philosophies about building a successful brand in the private sector is that the brand must be built upon a foundation of truth. You can't promise a certain benefit or experience if the product or destination isn't capable of delivering. In the world of travel, dining, or just about any other consumer arena, when customers discover that a brand is built on a false premise they will spread the word and the brand will crumble. That doesn't seem to be a concern in political advertising. Candidates reposition — or rebrand, if you will — themselves on a weekly basis. They move left or right with ease. They shift or totally reverse positions whenever it's convenient.
Once in a while, a private sector brand will allude to a competitor in advertising but usually it's done in a clever way (remember the genius of the Mac vs PC series). It's the complete opposite in political advertising. Rarely do candidates focus on their own "features and benefits" as consumer brands do. They tend to focus solely on their opponent and they don't let the truth get in the way. I'm proud to say that our firm has never suggested a strategy for a client that required tearing down their competitor.
We’ll happily stick to doing creative and powerful advertising/branding work for clients in the industries that we know best. With a clear conscience we’ll sleep better at night, too.