"There's no way to put this delicately, so I won't," writes consumer trendspotter Jeff Yang in Salon: "America's global image is in the crapper." Which means the 2008 presidential election is "something like an ad agency review -- a chance to put a set of potential stewards for 'Brand America' through their paces, to see the creative and strategic directions in which they'd take our product."
Yang analyzes the brand messages of each of the four remaining candidates: Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Barack Obama. If Clinton were a brand, he writes, she'd be Microsoft-meets-Martha Stewart Living; her underlying values are "competence, experience, professionalism." Huckabee is Applebee's and Yoo-Hoo chocolate beverage; his message is "earthiness, populism, humility." McCain--"resilience, candor, courage"--is a blend of Hummer and Winston cigarettes (ouch!). And Obama--"inspiration, inclusion, iconoclasm"--is represented by Apple and Nike.
Keith Reinhard, chairman of the second-largest ad agency in the world, DDB Worldwide, told Yang, "Brand America needs a relaunch. And this year, this election, is the best opportunity we're going to get. ... The bottom line is that we need a world that likes America."
So which candidate represents the best rebranding opportunity? Read the article; get the answer.