All About Election

It’s quite hard to ignore the election today, even if you are just reading a blog post. Earlier today everybody greeted to each other with one simple question “Did you vote?”, even if they were greeting to me, who couldn’t vote at all. At first I would simply reply  that I’m an evil communist. Later I realized that this would only bring an awkward end to a conversation. People would unnaturally smile and then turn away.

After giving it a second thought, I should have handled those conversations with election-related marketing cases. There is so much to talk about.

For instance, the jet-blue campaign introduced by the professor the other day was a remarkable one. In fact, quite a number of brands took the advantage of presidential events, like debate, voting and lectures. Most common practices are like 7-11’s election coffee poll campaign, in which they provided two kinds of coffee cups. Each stands for a candidate. They also launched series of viral videos, Facebook background pictures, and free coffee samples.

Similar ideas have also been adopted by “Bliss”: a spa and beauty brand; “Tortilla’s”, a California chain restaurants brand; and “Boston Market”, which is also a restaurant brand who launched a “left wing vs. right wing” bowl poll.

The most brilliant part of this idea is that customers can take sides by simply purchasing their products or services. And according to the sales records, we can get a clue of which candidate is leading. This year, the 7-11 coffee poll almost foretold the final result of the election, whereas Toritilla’s result was quite biased. Maybe between the Obama chicken teriyaki bowl and the Romney Mexican Mitt-Loaf Bowl, some customers simply decide based on their flavor preferences rather than political inclinations. Fortunately whether the results are accurate or not does not affect the fact that these brands will catch eye balls during the election.

It’s difficult to trace back who came up with this idea first. However it can be identified that since 1984 Busken Bakery, located in Cincinnati, has been making presidential cookies. And they proudly claimed that their result matches the votes count within 2%.

There are also other ways to connect brands to this election: “Cheetos” conducted an online poll about the “big cheese” via social media. “Pizza Hut” promised lifetime free pizzas to those who could raise a question about pizza during the debates. And there are some basic apply of homonym, like Tostito’s “One Party” campaign.

Generally speaking, it seems every brand doesn’t want to give up this national event; otherwise it’s going to be another four years. Some brands, like jet blue, came up with something innovative and eye-catching, while others, like Tostito, simply stepped into previous footprints.


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6 Responses to All About Election

  1. dkennard says:

    I think some of these ideas are great, the election only comes around every four years so it is smart for companies to use the election to their advantage in selling their products. As you mentioned some of the ideas were not very unique but I still think they are affective for the company and the election. Choosing which president to vote for is one of the most important and valuable rights we have in America and the fact that different companies around the country endorse this idea and incorporate the election within their campaigns is great and plays a huge part for individuals around the country. It helps create the spirit of America and liberty. I enjoy the fact that every where I go their are either direct or indirect connections to the election. It highlights the importance of this event.

    On another note, I did not like the pizza hut campaign that you mentioned at all. I think the fact that Pizza Hut offered lifetime pizza to anyone who can bring up pizza in the presidential debate shows pure disrespect for our country and the purpose of the election. There are important issues that we needed to know about our presidential candidate and for Pizza Hut to encourage people to bring up a topic on pizza is ridiculous. I am surprised that campaign did not receive more criticism.

    • boweidon says:

      Thanks for your comment and insights. Involving political events in marketing practices is always risky. They can promote the brand of course. However at the meantime, they can be accused of disrespecting and consuming this nation. Pizza Hut is an obvious examples, I’m sure many people, who are as patriotic as you are, may have some negative images about this brand ever since. In fact, other campaigns like the 7-11s have been criticized for the same reasons.
      But as you mentioned that wherever you go, you can see direct or indirect connections to the election. Quite a number of these connections are made by brands for commercial interests. They do have some credits for immersing this nation in the discussion of election. Maybe 4 years after, they will come up with some ideas that has been more seriously considered and polished.

  2. chenshen says:

    To combine the presidential election with the brand is very a smart way to conduct marketing strategies because almost all the companies can offer different selections to customers on their products or service. Some product elements can be used as a fun way to promote the brand. For example, the brand Bliss showed in the blog takes “O” of “Obama” and highlights its product line of “O” among all the products. This is a very great way for customers to remember it even after the election day. Also, the marketing campaigns take use of the conflict between two presidential candidates and tactfully switch the concept to the selections of products. For example, each consumer has a shopping experience of not knowing which product he or she wants to buy, chicken or turkey, berry flavor or apple flavor, regular coffee or decaf coffee, etc. In this case, combining the conflict of choosing which president with the conflict of choosing which product is a very great way to develop marketing strategies. In addition, the forecast of the election can be used on commercials as well and the company can show the customers which food, flavor or color wins the market recently. No matter who wins the presidential election, people always have their own votes to a brand or a product they prefer, and the presidential campaigns can help commercial campaigns create a lot of buzz as well.

    • boweidon says:

      Thanks for sharing more relevant marketing practices. And your categorizing is quite brilliant. So far almost all the election-related marketing cases basically fall under at least one of the three categories you mentioned.
      If we judge from the extent of interaction between customer and brand, the “taking side” or “conflict” kind of marketing is no doubt the most smart sort of election-marketing. They can engage consumers in expressing their political views while purchasing.
      And in such cases if the base of consumer is big enough, theoretically the sales record of this product can serve as a poll. However we can always see exceptions. Like the Obama chicken vs. Roomney meat-loaf case, some consumers will still make decision by taste instead of who they support.

  3. mengying says:

    Thank you Bowei for the information about 2012 USA election. If Obama won the war with the help of Facebook 4 years ago, this time, I believe Twitter contributes most in the social media strategy. Here, I would like to share some interesting information with you.

    After winning the election, Obama twit a picture of his wife with three words: another four years, which is shared by millions of netizens. There are some interesting findings about how to effectively use twitter. Firstly, when you create a piece of information, the words should not be too much. Enough space left for leaving comments when people retwit should be guaranteed because netizens prefer to personalize the information through adding individual opinion. Secondly, according to the survey, the most popular time for twitting is in the morning,between 7:00-9:00 am. In other words, posting information during the time will increase the opportunity to be retwitted.

    • boweidon says:

      Thanks for your sharing. It’s true that Obama’s campaign office has been renowned for taking advantage of SNS and such. And as you described, Twitter to Obama is like TV to Kennedy. innovation and revolution in communication technology can sometimes have profound social effects.
      Applying SNS in winning elections requires understanding the SNS. The communication pattern, timing, and even content should be carefully considered. As you have mentioned, short and catchy messages in right time is key.