Politics and marketing–yes they are related

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What does John McCain and Exxon have in common?

Both are bad at marketing. Why? Do I really need to define pandering for you? Okay, then I will.

Pander – According to the dictionary is: “To cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses”

Pander – According to Wikipedia: “In politics, portrayal of one’s views to fit in line with a certain crowd of voters the candidate is attempting to impress, when often, these are not the candidate’s true beliefs. A candidate may engage in pandering out of desperation if s/he is already losing a race, or if polls taken prior to an election show others as being in the lead.”

Wikipedia gets closer than the dictionary. You could swap out the word politics and put in advertising when referring to Exxon and adjust a few words here and there.

Have you seen the Exxon commercials where they are saving the world while destroying our economy? That is pandering. And you know not one person in this country is buying what those commercials are selling except the executives at Exxon.

If you have heard the news about who McCain has chosen for his running mate? Anyone have the feeling McMaverick is more of a used car salesman than a Presidential nominee? Apparently McCain thinks the American public is as dumb as the Exxon executives think we are.

I see it this way: if you are honest then deceit doesn’t come into the picture. If you are a company like Exxon the best thing you can advertise is something that is real and effects those you are advertising to.

So lets figure this out. Exxon is making record profits while myself, my neighbors and every person I know in America is worth less today than they were a year ago. Why? One reason is the cost of gas. Now all of us are thinking about alternative fuel sources and getting away from oil. What could Exxon do that might actually work for some good PR? How about invest tens of millions in alternative fuels like adding hydrogen pumps at stations within X amount of miles of each other. Or add propane and start investing in solar power.

Here is one idea that I’ve had floating around for a long time. Buy back old lightbulbs. The kind with a filament and exchange those for compact flourescent or invest in LED lights and exchange old fashioned lightbulbs for those. Even trade. Imagine if every household in America switched tomorrow to these energy saving lightbulbs. Now that would be a brilliant marketing/PR move for Exxon.

What could McCain have done to help himself in terms of good marketing/PR? How about taking on the best candidate. Sure, McMaverick will claim his running mate is the best, but when something is as transparent as this pick then the only person you are fooling is yourself. This is truly one occasion where the Mac has out thought himself right into a PR nightmare.

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