. The Transom .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Twitter me this, Madam President....

Most people I talk to felt that Hillary Clinton's YouTube video announcing her campaign song was very well done, clever and successful. I can't argue that it was well done, I mean, that's what a professional production service will do for you. But I have to question why it was done, what it will accomplish, and what it means for future campaigns.

My first thought after seeing her series of videos was, "are we looking for a president or an Academy Award winner?" Does it not seem strange that presidential candidates are now trying to sway voters with catchy marketing videos and less about what they stand for and what they plan to do about the country?

Then there is the theme of the video. It was a nod to the series finale of The Sopranos. Granted, the finale of that show was widely watched, but it's a show about a dysfunctional family that cheats the government and kills people. In addition, only people who can afford HBO watch the Sopranos, so she's not exactly targeting the middle or lower class. Interesting choice all around.

Finally, what did it accomplish and what does it mean for future campaigns? It told me she has a clever marketing person on staff, that neither she nor Bill are good at acting, and that she was trying to raise her 'cool' factor among younger voters. I hope that this isn't a trend for the future where candidates feel like the only way to get our attention is by crowding into our social media spaces and putting on a show. That's why I watch Saturday Night Live, not why I vote for a president.

In the future, look for presidential candidates to have music videos on YouTube, souped up MySpace pages, asking you to be their friend on Facebook, and Twittering while on the campaign trail.


  • Sir,

    Ms. Clinton's video is the reason you have written this blog entry. Yes, it is even the reason why I am responding to your sophomoric, pedantic rant.

    Twitter me this, Captain Blogger: how would you like candidates to campaign? Since the election of JFK, voter turnout in almost every key demographic has plunged. Candidates are constantly seeking for new ways not to campaign, but to introduce themselves to voters. OMG! It's like PR!

    Word of mouth is no longer the medium of choice for candidates; the grassroots campaigns of the past have now been replaced by cyber-campaigning. You can thank Howard Dean for that.

    You know what, this isn't a bad thing. It's cheaper to advertise over the Internet than it is to have the same production team in place, creating the same video, then buying out TV slots in major markets.

    OK, PR boy, what does this say about the candidates? Wait a second, are you telling me that candidates actually try to market themselves? For shame! Perhaps you (and the millions of other who watched Ms. Clinton's video) would have been more enthralled with her articulating how she plans to deal with the MediCare/MediCaid issue. Thrilling!

    So will Ms. Clinton eventually friend you on your newly created Facebook account? Time will tell. But the next time a tribute video to Barack Obama comes up as a headline on CNN, I'll make sure to let you know.

    By Anonymous Shiva, Destroyer of Blogs, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 10:53:00 AM  

  • I agree with Shiva. Only people that can afford HBO watch The Sopranos? Damn, boy, you ignorant. Ain't you ever heard of Blockbuster or NetFlix? I never had me no HBO but I sure enjoy me some Tony Soprano.

    Maybe I should inform Hillary that all allusions to pop culture must come from network TV?

    By Anonymous Reese Amberg, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 10:56:00 AM  

  • Shiva - how would I prefer candidates to campaign? That's a good question. Maybe if just about every president after JFK hadn't blown it in office, the candidates would be able to campaign on their ideas and vision instead of their acting, saxaphone abilities, or religion. The truth of the matter is that campaigning is no longer about issues. It's just a popularity contest. "Constantly seeking new ways not to campaign?" Please... That's all they do.

    Clearly you have misinterpreted 'not doing lame marketing' for 'not marketing themselves.' Candidates have to market themselves and become the prom queen or king because that's what people judge them on - face value. No one cares what they say because no one believes they're telling the truth. Why tell the truth if won't get you elected? Only after the president is in the white house will we learn about real issues and where they stand.

    The sad part is, we have actors doing commercials about their political views, (a la Michael J. Fox and stem cell research), and we have political candidates pretending to be actors. It's ridiculous.

    If Ms. Clinton wants to be my friend, so be it, because it won't be her. She has no idea what YouTube or Facebook are anyway, which is one of the reasons these tactics are so pathetic. A candidate trying to be cool and relate to a new demographic by pretending to know how that group interacts doesn't exactly bleed credibility.

    By the way, since I'm sure you tuned in with the other geniuses, how was CNN's coverage of Paris Hilton last night? There was two hours of life sucked right out of you...

    And Reese - I would watch The Sopranos through Netflix if I didn't mind waiting so long to see it. But I like to be able to talk about current events in the current time. Also, way to post with that name you coward.

    By Blogger Rob Amberg, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:52:00 AM  

  • Not knowing the issues? Finding out what they believe AFTER they get into office? Maybe this whole "popularity contest" thing is only for those of you who view it that way...

    For instance, any person who CHOOSES to inform himself/herself can figure out exactly what a candidate stands for. Look at their website, debate transcripts and voting records (if the candidate had served in public office before) and you'll see what you're getting yourself into. You think George Bush turned this way overnight? Dream on.

    You show me candidates that do nothing but talk about issues and I'll show you the person making the concessionary call on election night.

    By Anonymous Guns don't kill people, I kill people, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:26:00 PM  

  • Right on, Guns. Who actually bases their vote on what a candidate wants? This country is so polarized right now, people will vote with what they "believe" is right (or left). How do you show them (as a candidate) what you "believe?" By letting them know who you are.

    Primaries = name recognition.

    General Election = Substance (relatively speaking).

    Given what you seem to want, I'm expecting a vote for Dennis Kucinich from you...

    By Anonymous Shifty McSchackles, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:31:00 PM  

  • Must be a slow day at GH....

    By Blogger Rob Amberg, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:36:00 PM  

  • Geez, I haven't shown up here in person to read the comments in a while [read via RSS instead]. I don't understand the bitterness, for one. I agree with Rob -- it was a half-lame attempt to be cool. And while we all tuned in when Bill Clinton played the sax on Arsenio [good grief, that was a long time ago], I'm much more interested in knowing what the candidates will do about Iraq and health care. Why do we even have to HAVE a song??

    I like candidates who understand that this is a serious contest [which I think Hillary does, btw] but who also don't feel the need to pander to the lowest common denominator.

    By Blogger lcreekmo, at Monday, July 09, 2007 1:41:00 PM  

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