Tuesday, November 6, 2012

By Heather Turner

Branding undoubtedly plays a role in influencing voter perceptions of Presidential candidates. Ultimately, voter reactions to campaign images is subjective. That being said, if the election was solely based on image and branding, then President Barack Obama, is clearly winning.

Mitt Romney's camp is incredibly lacking in artistic or mind-blowing campaign posters (my search for iconic Romney art didn't go well). Rather, many of the images associated with Romney's campaign have typically been mashups, created by satirists and pretty much anyone with a sense of humor and Photoshop. In this way, Romney's campaign has been its own worst enemy and despite six years of preparing to run for the office of the Presidency, Team Romney still can't seem to inspire an image that is anywhere near as rhetorically powerful as this:

 coulda been 

a tramp stamp

Even when reproduced as a tattoo on a random appendage for some (probably drunken) reason, it is instantly recognizable as a rendition of the "Hope" poster designed by artist Shepard Fairey. Fairey's poster was adopted by Team Obama after the independently produced stencil portrait became viral. At the same time, to Conservatives, elements of Obama's branding, including the Fairey stencil, confirmed their perceptions of Obama being communistic and even a messianic figure of sorts to the political left wing.

The 2008 election set a high bar for image and branding excellency, as the most viral presidential candidate was also the one who got elected. In fact, Obama's election brought on a period of extreme "Baracksploitation," in which the President's image was applied to pretty much anything, from sushi, to t-shirts, to action figures, to hash bricks. The 2012 election was already going to be an uphill battle for anyone running against our resident Presidential icon.

However, whether or not a candidate's campaign "get it right" with their branding, candidates of both parties adopt rhetoric that draws from ubiquitous American national myths concerning 'God and country' to appeal to the electorate, as crafting a clear moral agenda is also a major aspect of Presidential branding. The national myths invoked by the previous four presidents reflects the complex historic and nationalistic, yet pseudo-religious identity of America.

Read the rest at Spin and the Media.

No comments:

Post a Comment

No to the Status Quo! News and Opinion Blogs

Blogger Widgets