Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Marketing Bush

As we sit here today at the dawn of the month of July, we are looking at an uncertain election still. There is still a lot that will happen in the next 4 months, but I'm growing concerned about Bush-Cheney 2004's inability to break Bush out to a solid lead. I therefore propose a few, simple ideas that hopefully can help create a strong Bush-Cheney brand with the public.

1. Enter positive phrases into the popular lexicon. The less thought it takes to come up with these phrases, the better, because they have to stick in people's mind without them thinking about it too much. Example: "The Bush Boom". Starting attaching Bush's name to this economy. If the Democrats wanted to brand your name on it when it was bad, then you damn well better have your name all over it now that it is on fire. "The Bush Boom" is simple and it says a lot about the economy. Those three words do more to take the economy off the table for Kerry than all the stats in the world. Like it or not, many American elections are settled by a combination of two things: which party has the most motivated base, and who the impulsive voters decide to vote for once they enter that voting booth. These phrases win or lose the impulsive voter. Think "Willie Horton", "No new taxes" as examples of what phrases can do to propel you or sink you. I'd give more examples, but I need a few more Long Island iced teas to get my brain in a simple enough mode.
2. Start branding Bush very similarly to how he was branded in 2000 using his record. Convincing people that he is the tough, principled Bush that was promised in 2000 should be easy. Convincing them that he truly is the 'compassionate conservative' promised will be more difficult. Now I'm sure the Bush campaign is very sensitive about the compassionate conservative tag because they fear alienating the aforementioned party base. In my opinion, they have no choice but to go back to it, though. Bush proposed, supported, pushed through, and signed a lot of legislation that is to the left of conservatives. Because they backed off the compassionate conservative stance, though, the liberals of the Democratic Party were able to assail Bush as ultra conservative, despite his giving them legislation that was probably more aligned with there positions than they would have gotten if Gore had won. If they do not emphasize his record and how truly moderate most of it was, he loses a portion of his conservative base who is already unhappy with said legislation, and he allows liberals to fool the impulsive voter into thinking his legislation was oppressive, when in reality it was anything but.
3. Bring faces and human stories to Bush's successes. What do I mean by that? Well, we hear a lot about the anti-Bush 9-11 families, and we are beginning to hear about the anti-Bush military families. Don't give the Democrats the perceived support of these two groups, with whom the public has much sympathy. Let the public know of the 9-11 families who are thankful for the policies Bush has enacted, and how it is helping them get closure. Let the public meet the families of soldiers who are proud of their sons and daughters, and who are even prouder because they believe in what their children are sacrificing for. Give the public the names, faces, voices, and stories of these people. Do it now. Please.
4. We still have enemies out there that pose a threat to us, enemies that we haven't dealt with yet. Don't saber rattle, but don't let the American people get complacent about the threat that still faces them, either. If things in Iraq start to go extremely well, the War on Terror will begin to fall off the front page. Kerry has to be praying that this is what will happen, because Bush has such a commanding advantage over him on national defense. The Bush campaign needs to burn in the public's mind our successes to this point, but at the same time remind them that Iran, North Korea, al Qaeda, and Syria, are still very real threats to us, and that now is no time to change direction with a new President. I don't work for an ad agency, but it would seem that this would be a great area for a visual, 15 second spot that drives home a huge point.

That's my marketing advice. A jingle and some funky buttons would be pretty cool, too.