PACKAGED – LIKE SOAP
TO THINK THAT AN old soldier would come to this! These despairing words of General – later United States President – Dwight D Eisenhower summed up the sea change that occurred in political campaigning in the early Fifties, when commercial marketing techniques began to be widely used in presidential election campaigns. Eisenhower was lamenting the fact he had to record radio spots and submit himself to being powdered for TV commercials instead of doing what he was best at – commanding armies on the field of battle.
But Eisenhower’s timid tinkering was totally outdated by the Sixties, when campaign manager Christy Walsh promised to package, label and sell Pierre Salinger, who was running for a Senate seat, like a bar of soap.
Well, welcome to the 21st Century. We’ve just gone a step further. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, which has already received widespread public acclaim for its efficiency, its 360-degree multidisciplinary approach, its all-round comprehensiveness and its imaginative use of the new electronic media, has been awarded a Grand Clio (best of show) in the integrated campaign category at the Clio Awards in New York.
Obama’s campaign manager will be talking about the campaign at the Cannes Lions advertising festival next week. I can’t wait.