Political Brands
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Political Brands

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

From ‘I Like Ike’ to Trump’s MAGA hats, branding and politics have gone hand in hand, selling ideas, ideals and candidates. Political Brands explores the legal framework for the use of commercial branding and advertising techniques in presidential political campaigns, as well as the impact of politics on commercial brands. This thought provoking book examines how branding is used by citizens to change public policy, from Civil Rights activists in the 1960s to survivors of the 2018 Parkland massacre.
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Chapter 5: Branding candidates on TV

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

Abstract

As soon as televisions were in American living rooms, politicians - including those running for president - began using commercial branding techniques to sell candidates to voters. As early as the Eisenhower 1952 campaign, techniques like the use of the jingle, “I like Ike” helped sell Ike to the electorate. These techniques would be used again and again to package successful candidates. JFK used the song “High Hopes” to sell himself to voters. Over time, campaigns also learned that a key ingredient for success was to brand political opponents as thoroughly unappealing or dangerous. In 1964, LBJ painted Goldwater as a madman with the “Daisy” ad, among others. TV even helped Nixon win in 1968. In 1988, George H.W. Bush painted his opponent Dukakis as pathologically soft on crime. And candidates who were not comfortable being marketed on TV, like Adlai Stevenson and Michael Dukakis, were at a significant electoral disadvantage.

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