Category Archives: communication platforms

(Lack of) Political Media Strategery

As mentioned, I’ve had more than five calls in five days from the Republican Party of Minnesota imploring me to vote for McCain/Palin and Norm Coleman (non-Minnesotans: the dude that was mayor of St. Paul, brought professional hockey back to MN, has been a senator for 6 years, and is running against Al Franken).

This fine Sunday morning, I had a wonderful flier in the handle of my storm door, not the first of those either in the past 5 days.

If I’m undecided and you call me five times in five days when my number is on the Do Not Call list (yeah, I know politicians get special status, but I’m in this industry…if I’m Joe Insert Name Here, I may not be as in the know w/ such things), then paper my front porch w/ your fliers when the “No Soliciting” sign is roughly a foot from my door handle, you’re not really getting credit for listening to my needs. And most likely not getting my vote as two things I remember vividly less than a week before voting are things that PISS ME OFF!

I guess the irony is that at this point in the game it’s usually the Dems reaching for high frequency desperation tactics. Regardless, do these people not have media/advertising strategists working for them? Or have they not learned from Dem failures of the past 8 years and the media strategies they used to get there. Oh, wait, they probably do and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

And let’s not forget 30 minute infomercials. Personally, I was asking myself where the foamboard charts were. “We’re in deep doo doo, folks.” Now that’s how you connect w/ Joe Insert Name Here.

My only comment is HRP used his own money to buy two 30 minute blocks of time, which came off as a bit pretentious and showy but he was a 3rd wheel looking to shake things up.

BHO, a major party candidate, used the funds he raised by not adhering to policies of fund raising that he said he would adhere to before he became the nominee. I get that he more than any other modern candidate accumulated a ridiculous amount of minimal contributions from a ridiculous number of people by activating the true base, in the trenches, part of the electorate to get the money. And I greatly applaud that because that is a sound use and activation of strategy that understands that all politics is indeed local.

However, he is now the candidate talking about spreading the wealth around who is buying 30 minutes on three major broadcast networks on the mass-est of mass media.

A thought: How about you finish strategically where you started? Produce the video for straight to digital distribution to re-ignite the base and get them passing said video around to their undecided friends vs. wasting dollars on the committed base and the competition’s committed base. Polls right now show a huge advantage in electoral votes, but most agree that the 10 million or so undecided voters are the key. If you buy into the promise of social media, as you seem to based on how you’ve used it throughout, then the best way to persuade the undecided is via their friends and family who aren’t undecided.

Just a thought. After all, you were the man who advocated using a scalpel vs. a hatchet in the 2nd debate. You can apply that analogy a bit more easily to media strategy than trillions of dollars of debt. At least I think so…

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Filed under advertising effectiveness, bad media, communication platforms, competition, election 08, media usage, push vs. pull, video

Quote of the Day – POTUSA as Global Communication Vehicle, Riff, GCV as buzzword

Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh, totally motionless except for her heart

No, no, I’m kidding. I’m a kidder. At least I am now…later in this post, I’m going to be pretty serious…

“The modern Presidency is as much a vehicle for communication as for decision-making, and the relevant audiences are global.”

10.13.08 New Yorker, Talk of the Town, spelling out why BO makes more sense than JM (and SP for that matter)

When I see the blistering, sarcastic, sardonic tone of the commentary by “my friends” in the electorate – many of which also happen to be card-carrying members of that raggedy segment of the electorate known as the media/marketing/advertising industry – on the candidates via, primarily, what could be considered “global communication vehicles” (or, in current industry parlance, “social media” – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.), I think you can all ZIP IT and just point to this quote.

Seriously, this freakin’ election has been going on for 2 years – more actually if you really think about it (BO’s speech at the DNC before becoming a senator, Bush crushing McCain in SC primary via dirty media tactics – I’ll come back to that later). Screaming at each other when you mostly all agree about something really isn’t helping. Effective frequency has been broached. Tell it to people who might need to be influenced – i.e. those who are undecided since media outlets on the left and the right are saying those few million of us who exist will be the ones deciding this thing.

Frankly, the tone of what’s being spewed forth from those outlets makes me think if I didn’t have a career in this media/marketing/advertising industry I’d probably just stay home because I can’t figure out which is the lesser of two evils. That, my friends, sounds like a potentially relevant strategy – be so derisive in your communication that you harden the base and generate so much disdain in the democratic process that the undecided just don’t bother. Short sighted, perhaps, but effective nonetheless.

For the love, people, most of you are in jobs where you need to figure out every day who the best prospects are for your or your clients’ messages, how you should best craft those messages to change perceptions and actions, and where/how often you need to say the things you need to say. Practice what you preach. Get out of the echo chamber.

And if you all really believe in the power of “social media”, seems this would be just the sort of thing “social media” can be used for to do more good in spreading the word in a beneficial way…right? Or is “social media” just about showing your network that you’re blistering, sarcastic and/or sardonic? Take a cue from BO – his use of social media as a positive force in spreading and effectively (and efficiently, I might add) explaining his message and refuting the other side’s POV has been masterful. It has had a great influence on this Indy.

Of course, I’m giving the vast rabble of the electorate a lot of credit for being rational people who will respond rationally when spoken to rationally. Worked pretty well in times of crisis for other Presidents – Abe in his speeches and proclimations leading up to and during the Civil War, FDR and his “fireside chats” during the Depression and WWII, JFK debating Nixon and during the Cuban missile crisis, etc. I think 2000 and 2004 proved pretty well when they’re spoken to irrationally w/o an effective or coherent rational response they will behave irrationally. It’s a shame JM decided it best to mimic those derisive tactics that brought him down in the ’00 primary. Against a rational and relatively impervious candidate (vs. a reactive and overly emotional one) they just don’t work. Oh, and remember it almost made you switch parties in ’04. Now that’s a true maverick.

BTW, I’m really liking “Global Communication Vehicle” as opposed to “social media”. “Social Media” feels less and less relevant every day – or maybe it’s brilliant in it’s simplicity…who knows w/ these things; as an industry we lose interest relatively quickly in buzzwords and trends, or maybe we think we’re just so damn good at developing new buzzwords and trends we feel the need to do so consistently to substantiate our existence and make our jobs seem a lot more complex and hard to keep up w/ – maybe we all just just double our aderol and suck it up. What was I saying again? Oh, yeah.

So, Global Communication Vehicle sounds really big and important. It has a nice sounding acronym – GCV. It refers to what is accomplished by using it – communication – vs. the container in which what happens occurs – media (though that whole “vehicle” at the end is a bit disconcerting, but, again, “V” right after the combo of “GC” just sounds so euphonious – someone get me a nickel for using that word now). It takes it beyond a seemingly trivial use – to socialize – and makes it seem like Colin Powell as Barack Obama’s top advisor on international matters could use it to fix Darfur or see K-G and B in Putin’s eyes. Ooo, new shiny object is prrriiiitttyyy…..


Filed under bad media, communication platforms, election 08, media coverage, quote of the day, riffs, twitter

Political Twitter

At first I thought the Twitter coverage of the election was a spectacular thing. It was fascinating to see in real time people’s reactions to the first debate.

I noticed that the audience composition of those participating in #debate08 was actually relatively balanced. Maybe not as many McCain supporters as Obama supporters, but there weren’t as many of “The L Words” in there as I thought. Super scientific, I know, but the pro-McCain comments were not lacking is the point.

To that end, as this second debate was unfolding, I started to notice that the comments were primarily in a few clusters.

1. Sound & Fury Signifying Nothing: Trash talk about the candidates styles, nothing on substance, general snarkiness.

2. I’ve Got a Bat and the Horse Isn’t Dead Yet: Random regurgitation’s of facts and figures on specific topics being discussed that only a person who is voting based on a particular issue would know about.

3. Fact Checking Lurkers: Not sure if they’re w/ the various campaigns, but some well-informed people seeming to plant well-timed topics.

And then I shut my laptop.

I realized that those three categories meant you were dealing w/ people who, by and large, had already made up their mind. They’re just playing a tennis match at this point and I’m wagging my neck around as the ball goes back and forth. It’s not helping me one bit.

I realized I was looking at everyone else’s thoughts and throwing out my own pithy 140 character or less quips based on the soundbites of the debate I was able to catch when not reading everyone else’s comments about the debate that was on the TV about 8-10 feet past the laptop with which I was enthralled.

I’m not really sure how I’m feeling about Twitter’s use in this way now, but I do know I won’t be on the laptop for round 3 next week. I’m thinking there is some fascinating evaluation that needs to be done to see what it all means and how it can be better used to influence because I can tell you for this indie it’s not all that influential.

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Filed under communication platforms, election 08, twitter

You know what to do, G, Bust a Myth (or three)

Heard from a couple of you w/ regards to the iMedia “Myth Busters” panel I’m going to be on this Tuesday. Below are the 3 key points I gave to the moderator. What do you think?

Myth #1
“Online” or “the Internet” is a medium in the the same sense that, or can be considered/compared to in an apples-to-apples way with, TV, radio, magazine, out-of-home, etc in terms of media mix allocation. TV, radio, magazine, out-of-home, etc. imply a “pushing” of message. “Online” or “the Internet” are best leveraged when there is a “pull” – and the investment buckets, not to mention the people resource buckets, push and pull come from at a marketing organization and/or agency tend to not be the same. Many “online campaigns” and pure-play online businesses don’t really require “media spending” at any significant level to be successful, but they do require a keen understanding of how the platform of the Internet operates to make themselves easily found. That tends to require a different kind of investment and resource allocation than “successful” TV, radio, magazine, OOH, etc. “campaigns”. So trying to figure out how to shift TV or print money into online is short-sighted – especially as all media becomes digital and runs on the platform (i.e. not the “medium”) that is the Internet.

Myth #2
Another one is thinking one, universally applicable definition of “engagement” or success is possible. ABC’s upfront presentation got me going on this one. Efficiency at the front end or amount of time people spend “watching” is not necessarily a predeterminant of success on the back end. Marketers need to define success and the systems to measure it for themselves, share it completely and fully w/ their partners/agencies, agencies need to take care of the front end to make sure whatever is negotiated produces desired results on the backend, and reward media vendors accordingly with business – regardless of how high or low CPMs are.

Myth #3
Most tactically is mobile as a “medium”. It’s not a medium. It’s a tool that allows people to not have to carry around scraps of papers, shopping lists, to do lists, little black books, etc. Develop a functional experience in mobile that allows people to solve the day to day problems they have with stuff they usually have to carry around in their purses or pockets.


Filed under advertising effectiveness, communication platforms, conferences, future of media, media mix, mobile, monetizing media

Tweeting to the White House

Random and not deep thoughts on the election and one new media application…

I’m a hopeless independent when it comes to politics. My favorite gift of late from my lovely wife was a “Perot ’08” t-shirt (yeah, I voted for him twice).

I’ve been using Twitter a lot lately as I used to use IM bots – for relevant news headlines. So I added Obama and McCain Twitter feeds via a site called (being an independent, I’d rather have a 3rd party filter – I’m well aware Obama’s campaign is using Twitter directly). My humble, non-scientific assessment has me favoring Obama when it comes to effective use of new media.

One of those other Twitter feeds I have and check religiously is NPR. Every time NPR has a relevant national issue or campaign related headline – tends to be up to a dozen times a day – Obama’s polfeed is there in response usually within a couple minutes, outlining his POV on the issue. That’s in addition to a very effective use of “man on the street” perspectives from his supporters, usually a couple a day.

McCain, on the other hand, goes silent for long periods of times and most times is slinging mud and spewing the standard conservative epitaphs (I thought he was the “original maverick”…anyway) when he does choose to tweet.


Filed under communication platforms, election 08, media coverage, twitter

Read This Book

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky you must read. If you claim to be in marketing, advertising, media or just have a general interest in understanding how technology empowers people to connect and what it means for society – good and bad – in general you must read this book.

If you’ve ever been concerned about the phenomenon of echo chambers (couple more books in here that I’ll be reading right after this one to get different perspective – i.e. step out of the echo chamber – on roughly the same topic) and their effect on the work you’re involved with (that’s me), you must read this book. Late in the book, in a section called “It’s Not How Many People You Know, It’s How Many Kinds”, the following appears in relation to a company going through a transition in management and re-org:

“…a dense social network of people in the same department (and who were therefore likely to be personally connected to one another) seemed to create an echo chamber effect…new managers rejected ideas drawn from this pool with disproportionate frequency, often on the grounds that the ideas were too involved in the minutiae of that particular department and provided no strategic advantage…”

Again, back to the section title, it’s not how many you know, it’s how many kinds…

If you’re looking for a professional life-changing experience you should read this book. It did mine. I will say that I thought the first few chapters were slow and re-hashing things I already know or believe, but with Chapter 4 and onward, Shirky has really challenged my thinking.

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Filed under books, communication platforms, future of media, the career


I tried to avoid this post, but since I somehow confused the coming of the 3G iPhone with the second coming of Christ, I had to say it out loud.

So go ahead and drop your $400. Hopefully you were lucky enough to wait in a four hour line. Please don’t bitch about the inevitable service issues and impending shortness of battery life and whatnot. Uncle Steve needs another closet full of black mock turtle necks.

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Filed under communication platforms, mobile, riffs