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Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008 at 11:28 am

A Political Branding Hook That Sells

By Jeff Sexton
February 6th, 2008

a hook that opens doors“I’m different! Really, I am! Different and better. Trust me!”

Doesn’t the stench of such desperate insecurity ooze from most marketing copy one reads? Everyone wants to be unique, yet precious few brands are willing to show their warts for fear of rejection.

If there’s any field where insecurity and fear are a brand’s biggest roadblocks, it has to be politics — which is why every marketer should not only watch but study these political ads as textbook examples on how differentiation works.

Here’s an advertisement for Steve Novick’s campaign:

Novick is different. And if you didn’t see why that was a real advantage the first time, this commercial beats a phony handshake any day:

If you’ve been following my columns, you know that ethos is a big part of credibility, and credibility is king when it comes to persuading customers you’re worth it.

[Hat tip to Nate Kreuter for posting these ads.]

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Comments (3)

  1. Brilliant ads, Jeff and they truly made me smile in a time when politics as usual is really getting under my skin. Ethos and authenticity ROCK!!

  2. I love these ads!! They are really great examples for talking about ethos – so good, in fact, that I will probably use them in my class this coming week. And I’m with Melanie – they definitely win me over.

    But to expand on Melanie’s point about the effects of Nixon’s appearance on voters, I find these particular ads to be good for not only talking about how a person constructs their own ethos but also a place to talk about how audience effects a constructed ethos. So, Nixon lost support because of how he visually presented himself – but also because the American audience found that presentation to be repulsive (or at the very least, off-putting). Novick, on the other hand, aligns his physical differences with characteristics that his Oregonian constituents value (e.g. not like other politicians). So, when I use these in class on Monday I’ll first ask my students to talk about Novick’s constructed ethos, but then steer the discussion in the direction of audience-held values, and how these affect Novick’s presentation of himself.

  3. These ads videos really increase the business!

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Jeff is a Persuasion Architect, Web copywriter, blogger, and instructor of FutureNow's Persuasive Online Copywriting workshop. Follow Jeff Sexton on twitter

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