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 12: Branding tragedy

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy


This chapter explores two stories in which the fight to brand the narrative is ongoing. In one, there is a battle to characterize what happened at a Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and President Trump’s reaction to it. In the other, there is a battle to brand what happened after a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. In both, one source of the branding battle is the question of who the real “victim” is. Of course, there are the actual victims who were killed and injured. But in the mind of the president, the victim of Charlottesville was himself; while in the mind of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the victim of Parkland was the NRA. However, neither the president nor the NRA is making these claims in a void; both are up against a tumultuous scrum of other political actors who are also trying to shape the narrative.

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