Brand Advisory: McCain Is Now the Brand Of "Change"

The Marketing Doctor says:

McCain VP Choice Represents "Monumental Shift Of The Brands" --
McCain Is Now The Brand Of "Change"

From a branding perspective, John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin is a masterstroke.  

Brands are combined for two reasons:

1) To complement one another;


2) Because they are consistent with one another. 

The best brand combinations are when both 1 and 2 are happening. 

Palin does this for McCain.  She
his brand by bringing several demographics to the McCain brand, but she is also consistent with the brand because she is a party- and Washington-outsider, a fighter of waste and corruption and a straight talker. 

In fact, what Palin does is remind the electorate of what the McCain brand was all about in the decades before he ran for president and opponents painted him as an out-of-touch, wealthy guy who forgets the number of houses he owns.

The Palin choice also draws attention to the brand weakness of the Obama-Bidenticket.  Why?  Because Obama-Biden offers #1 (
Biden complements Obama by bringing inside Washington experience and a working-class Catholic demographic to the table), but it does not
bring #2.

The additional brand problem for the Obama-Biden ticket is that not only is #2 not happening, the brands are actually moving in opposite directions. There is a clash of brands. 

Obama has ridden the change wagon to this point.  Change is by definition about shaking things up.  This has been Obama's chief brand strength.  Biden's complementary strength as a
running mate (i.e., not change) is now also a serious weakness because it is inconsistent with this primary brand strength. 

In a time of change, McCain with his selection of Palin has suddenly once again become the most anti-establishment, anti-Washington and anti-old-way-of-doing-things candidate in the race.   

The brand problem with the Biden pick would not have been as important or obvious had McCain gone for someone other than Palin. 

But he did.

The importance of this choice might not sink in right away with the electorate, but it is a monumental shift of the brands.  The McCain brand may have just become the brand of change.

Stay tuned.

And remember, it’s always easier when you keep branding in mind.


Beware of combining your brand with another brand unless you are certain that the other brand both complements and is consistent with yours.


What did you think of this article?

  • No trackbacks exist for this post.
Page: 1 of 1
  • 9/2/2008 8:24 AM Next Gen Politics wrote:
    While I disagree with the premise of the argument, I do think that from a marketing standpoint it is an interesting thought. I think that Palin emphasizes everything that is wrong about McCain. 1) He's out of touch/She is down to earth. 2)He is old/She is way too young. 3)He is a Washington insider that sold his independent soul to the Republicans to get the nomination/She fought the Republican insiders from within. (Even though her motives for fighting the "Republican insiders" may have been out of spite for being passed over for a position she wanted)
    Spin this anyway you want, she was a poor choice that he will regret over the next few months.
    Again, interesting article even though I disagree. Keep up the good work. I hope to hear more from you soon.
    Jerame Clough
    -Next Gen Politics
    Reply to this
    1. 9/3/2008 2:49 PM JT wrote:

      Thanks for your thoughts. Always like to hear reactions to my thoughts. I'm glad that I made my point from a marketing perspective I try to be as nonpartisan. But as you can imagine this can be difficult. You know I am only one man. I don't know whether you read my other Obama posts July 30 and June 6 Brandover for Michelle Obama. Would love to hear from you concerning my take. Later, JT
      Reply to this

Page: 1 of 1
Leave a comment

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name (required)

 Email (will not be published) (required)


Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.