But first - a seguey..."It's Her Baby" -- Such a female idea, right? This illustration, from the May 5 New Yorker cover, says a lot about working women and motherhood, especially from a NYC perspective when mothers-to-be wait for years to start a family. The puppy farming that puts darling, cute puppies in pet shop windows on every block on the Upper East Side, makes this idea of baby farming/postponed mothering culturally relevant. Really, I'm thinking about politics and media, but am also buying a Navajo-made silver rattle to take to the newest baby in the larger family here in New Mexico. There is nothing as exciting as a new baby!
Meanwhile, my mama instincts got raised today over the heat being given to McCain and his lack of spiff. Time's Mark Halperin had a list up of what McCain underestimates, including this one: In modern America, perception is often reality and style often beats substance. Markos Moulitsas writes:"It's amazing seeing the party that gave us Ronald Reagan's and George W. Bush's stagecraft is now so amateurish that they've given us green screen backdrops in major speeches in half-empty gymnasiums and -- yes -- yellow teeth." YELLOW TEETH???
My mother hackles want to put Kos in the time-out chair for stooping low and writing a tacky disrespectful post about McCain's teeth and their dingy color. He received peer correction: McCain's teeth were bad due to his experiences as a tortured POW with many of his teeth broken at the gum by the Vietnamese. But the larger picture is this: We are used to packaged presentations at the same time that we yearn for real.
Yes, McCain does need more style help (his speeches are painful to watch, he can't do well on the teleprompters) but in the same way that Obama sells his narrative of hope, McCain's real-ness and under-staging might benefit him. We can't be fooled as much as we once could.
AdAge analyzes Clinton vs. Obama in media and marketing campaigns with the two candidates spending about $120 million in the past 12 months. Obama's new media savvy strategies served him well. Obama had a significantly larger media budget and a more successful fundraising effort with a bang-up online presence and a social-network-style campaign website. Most notable: Obama's mass-media strategy to build personal relationships. "After Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million, the Obama team responded by sending out an e-mail to its supporters the next day that read, 'We need to match this quickly, can you help?' Within 24 hours respondents donated $8 million."
Launching as a new brand with little consumer awareness, Obama finessed the narrative. (A Pew media/political study of found the "dominant personal narratives for Obama were ones he tried hardest to project, a sign that he largely succeeded in controlling his media message, particularly early on. The most common of all was the notion that he represents hope and change. This was followed by the idea that he is a charismatic leader and powerful communicator. Obama has also succeeded in getting substantial coverage that refutes one of his greatest possible vulnerabilities, the idea that his appeal is too narrow or limited to blacks and elites. These three impressions permeated the coverage of his candidacy." (Also noted: "for McCain, one master narrative stands out above all in the coverage—that he is not a true or reliable conservative.") Now the rebranding will begin in earnest with McCain portraying Obama as an unknown rookie politician, while simultaneously
distancing himself from President Bush more explicitly than he has done
before. That, my friends, will be the new narrative.
Does McCain Twitter? As for new media strategies, that might be a big divide - it is an influential new audience that plays (non-Facebookers but into social networking). According to one interested advertising person noting Twitter use: Hillary has 4,019 followers and Obama has 33,069 followers. That in its own right says a lot, but that's not the big stat. The big stat is that Obama is following 33,960 people and Hillary is following 0. Literally 0. That's not an "o" that's a ZERO." Maybe McCain doesn't Twitter, but he reaches out to conservative bloggers in conference calls: Senator John McCain: ' I admire [Obama’s oratorical] skills and ability but I think Americans are going to want the details.'
McCain comes down hard on the idea that substance is more important than style. Update: Stephen Colbert has challenged viewers to enliven McCain's Tuesday night speech staging by adding humorous backdrops. Colbert "spiced him up" by putting a lion on the "green screen" backdrop to add more drama. Look for more remixes. Meanwhile, McCain updated his website last night and his "green backdrop" is for golf gear. My Dad would love that Golf Gear for Father's Day.
Well, the baby I'm off to go meet is named Owen. The baby of the political fight is now turning into a teenager for this next stage while the new media is also getting longer legs. Mama non-Twitterer Cheers.