Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Depressing thought of the day

From Slacktivist:

Selling a candidate is, in some ways, a lot easier than selling a new TV show. The USA Network has to do more than trick viewers into pulling a lever or checking a box. They can saturate their airwaves (cable-wires?) with ads that spin their show any way they like, but that's not going to keep viewers tuning in to a show that turns out to be nothing like the one they're selling. Those viewers will sit through half the show, realize it doesn't resemble the advertised product, and -- click -- they'll go back to watching The Ghost Whisperer instead.

Political campaigns don't have to worry about that. They don't have to worry about whether their actual candidates correspond in any way to the re-edited, re-imagined candidates their ads are selling. Voters, unlike viewers, don't need to be tricked every week, they only need to be tricked once every four years. Political campaigns can advertise anything at all -- "compassionate conservative," "fiscal responsibility," "national security," "we do not torture" -- and they only have to worry about maintaining the ruse up through election day. Once voters leave the booth they've bought the product and they're stuck with it for the next four years.

One more reason that selling a candidate is easier than selling a TV show: No reviews. Here's metacritic's page for In Plain Sight. You could watch a year's worth of the Sunday morning political talk shows and everything that cable news has to offer by way of campaign coverage and you'd rarely encounter the degree of thoughtful, skeptical scrutiny that even a summer-fill-in show on basic cable faces from TV critics.


Anonymous bill in minneapolis said...

Yes, campaigns are just two sophisticated marketing teams fighting it out for the marginally inolved voters. Hopefully, this year most voters will see a differene in the 'products' (candidates) because of the debates.

But I am always saddened by how well the marketing works and how little the 'product' matters.

4:02 AM, June 11, 2008  

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