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On Mad Men, the AMC television series about a small advertising agency in the 1960s, the agency just landed the Jaguar account. To do so, they had to figure out how to create a US market for an unreliable, overpriced, foreign-made, unnecessary sports car and compete against much larger and more established agencies doing the same thing. In the story, the car wasn't even reliable enough to assist the humiliated Lane Pryce commit suicide, but the agency figured out how to sell it. Their winning pitch equated the car with a mistress, and the hook like was "at last something beautiful you can truly own." With this strategy, the agency narrowed it's target and created a demand for something that would not benefit most people. That's exactly what Republicans do and why they win.

First, Republicans don't really have to get out the vote. Their target market, mostly white older people, vote anyway. They're already registered and vote without being pressed. All Republican candidates have to do is create a need and seemingly fulfill it. In contrast, Democrats are constantly having to battle the increasingly onerous voter registration rules and begging youth and minorities to get out and vote. Greens are still fighting name recognition battles and the probably correct notion that a vote for their candidates is a wasted vote.

Second, Republicans get a lot of free, or more correctly characterized, already purchased, press. Here in IL-10, the press will call a Republican a moderate for one or two procedural votes and a tone slightly down a notch from the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. AllIL-10 Rep, Bob Dold, had to do to become an environmentalist, after a long year of anti-environment votes, was to stand on a bucket lift. The local media ate it up.

Third, Republicans get a lot of money just for being Republicans and supporting people with a lot of money. Now under Citizens United, they get even more money, and they spend that money on advertising. They can flood the networks with attack ads against their opponents. The multiple amputee war hero, Max Cleland, became a terrorist in a flash because some modern day Don Draper figured out that all he had to do was merge Max's picture with that of Osama bin Laden. They found a soft spot (post 9/11 fear), created an unfounded fear (the ridiculous notion that Max Cleland had anything to do with Osama bin Laden), and then proposed a cure (their own candidate who probably had no special idea on how to protect Americans from terrorism). It's just like selling mouth wash or deodorant and their target audience, older white people, spend a lot of time in front of their television sets, so it all works well.

So, where do liberals, progressives, Democrats and Greens go from here? I'd suggest that they get with the program and scrounge up every single penny they have on market research and advertising. As local IL-10 activist, Gregory Mysko, has pointed out, "Republicans have their sociopath billionaires. The Democrats have Hollywood. Who was missing in Wisconsin?"

Over the years, Republicans have mounted a strategic initiative to embarrass Hollywood out of the Democratic Party while insisting that the Koch Brothers were just fine. We need to stop worrying about their rules about which rich people belong in politics and which do not because they set their rules by right vs. left, not out of any sense of right and wrong. We need to put Hollywood back into the race and be unapologetic about it. Clooney bowed out for a long time feeling that his support hurt candidates, but then he saw the light and bowed back in. He was right to do so, but is pretty much only supporting Obama at this point. We needed him in Wisconsin. We also need Streisand, Sanradon, Hanks, Damon and Baldwin and we shouldn't be shy or embarrassed about it because Republicans want us to be shy and embarrassed about it, but they are never shy or embarrassed. Hollywood's money is no worse that that of the Kochs or Ricketts. They get it from the same place, consumerism and advertising.

Then, once we get serious money, we need to stop spending it on phone banks, events, rallies and yard signs and start spending it on the real world version of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce (the low-tech rope worked just fine). Wisconsin did not need radio talk show host, Ed Schultz's persona at some feel-good rally taking pictures with grassroots volunteer precinct workers from Chicago. Wisconsin needed his money, strategically spent on ads targeting the mainstream people who get out and vote.

Then, liberals and progressives need to find the soft spots to build on, create the need and provide the cure like good Mad Men. Republican control over middle class and working class whites is still probably fairly tenuous because they don't really do anything for them, but make them feel temporarily superior to younger people and minorities. There are surely soft spots that can be exploited among the target market of those who already vote. One soft spot might be taxes as the middle class is taxed far more than is the 1%. It might be unemployment insurance as more older workers are cut loose by corporations. It might also be the inconvenience of the police state, all the searches, spying, privacy intrusions that really don't protect anybody. It might be the ruin of neighborhoods through foreclosure or the loss of stock portfolios due to lack of regulation. Maybe we need commercials merging Mitt Romney's face with pink slips and foreclosure notices. For the IL-10 race, Bob Dold's face can be merged with the skull and crossbones to symbolize his years as the lobbyist for the National Pest Management Association in its quest to bring toxic pesticides to the public schools. However, this should all be researched and focus grouped before implemented and that takes money.

Some of you will be shocked by this proposal, or feign shock in the case of Republicans who are just fine with all this stuff when it's done by their party, but this is what's been going on for a long time. The only difference is that liberals and progressives haven't been in the game that's already going on. I'm just suggesting that we get in the game and do it better than the opposition.



75%12 votes
6%1 votes
18%3 votes

| 16 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:15:52 AM PDT

  •  Not sure I agree with everything here... (0+ / 0-)

    ...but it's an excellent analysis and much food for thought. Tipped & Recced.

  •  We will never win by advertising more (0+ / 0-)

    The working class will never win if the battlefield is money spent.

    My only upside from last night is that maybe this pushes America closer to an uprising by a united working class.

    Sadly, I fear they will just climb back in their caves and drown their sorrows with cheap beer and TV.

    That is certainly what the GOP is hoping for.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:22:32 AM PDT

    •  Senator Obama spent more than McCain (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ebgill, prfb

      He spent significantly more. And he won.  

      Ebgil, I agree with you with respect to TV spots.  Especially in rural/suburban areas.  

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:36:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I essentially agree though I would change the (0+ / 0-)

    target audience. I don't think I would work on trying to get the people who already vote to change how they do it. I think we need an advertising campaign that convinces all those un-registered folks that their vote is not only needed, it's down right essential for their well-being. People honestly don't believe their vote matters. They feel no obligation to vote because it is essentially wasted. How do we convince them otherwise?

    •  they'll never do it, (0+ / 0-)

      so I suggest we forget about them. If we couldn't get African-Americans out for Dan Seals and Barack Obama in IL-10 in 2008, when exactly will we get them out?

      Using my free speech while I still have it.

      by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:33:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Writing groups off is what the GOP does (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, ebgill

        If the messaging hits what they care about, if you make the case to them, they will come out.  If you convince them that their vote will make any difference in their lives, they will come out.

        If you don't they won't, as they haven't so far.  It doesn't matter if we think our message is good, it has to be tailored to their concerns, not just ours.  

        •  target markets work (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I was an ad major in college, but I never really practiced as I went to law school after only 8 months at Foote, Cone and Belding in Chicago. However, we learned all about target markets and targeting the message. It's important to research to find their needs and tailor the message to the market. The latter part was not shown on the Mad Men episode, but you got to believe that's how they came up with the mistress idea, rich guys who could afford a Jaguar in the 1960s probably imagined the idea of a beautiful woman in their beautiful sports car, but the car was easier for them to get than the women.

          Using my free speech while I still have it.

          by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:50:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I get what the diarist is talking about, however. (0+ / 0-)

          Republicans win without it. Democrats should be able to as well. His point is well taken even if it is unpalatable.

          I think it comes down to education - long term education. Maybe an advertising campaign for the short term - to move more voters over - and an education campaign in civics and government for the long term, to attract more voters in the future. But when our resources are limited and the short term looks so dire, it is tempting to focus just on the messaging for a while.

      •  ebgill - I don't think Hollywood wants to spend (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        enough to make a real difference. The big names might drop a million in a Presidential cycle year, but I don't think they want, or are able, to spend $50 or $100 million like the top GOP mega donors.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:03:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  good point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but we have to start with something. I just have a problem not researching or advertising and targeting people who have already proven time and time again that they don't use the product. Maybe we can make it worth their while, for example stop buying into Republican smear against the ones who do donate, support their movies and records and such when they do. I know I would never in a million years have bought a Dixie Chicks CD, but I did when they came out against Bush.

          Using my free speech while I still have it.

          by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:13:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  For those who disagree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, prfb

    all I can say is that this is what I've been seeing in my district IL-10. Mark Kirk fooled 'em, Bob Dold fools 'em because they put on all these wonderful looking, expensively produced, focus grouped ads telling people who already vote without being prodded that they must vote for them or something terrible will happen, either that or showing that they are more legitimate than the opposing candidate. We work and work to get minorities from Waukegan and North Chicago registered and out to the polls, and they never come out in large enough numbers, not even for Obama in 2008. I think we're targeting the wrong market and selling the product incorrectly. Brad Schneider needs to be marketed to the older white majority as the only person who can solve whatever problem is in their minds. Unless he does that, he's gonna lose. The good news here is that Republicans really fail the older whites, so all we need is the money and the message. The truth is already on our side.

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:31:35 AM PDT

    •  Ebgill, how would you address the many.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...commitments that Dem governors and mayors have made to certain constituencies over the decades, commitments which can be fulfilled only by increasing the tax burden on the voters.

      One decade ago, with the median wage growing robustly , there was little blowback.

      But the median wage has stagnated for over 12 years.  Property taxes, as a % of market value of home, has increased.

      How do you respond to a GOP ad arguing, vote for us, we promise to decrease your property tax bill.

      p.s.  Favorite Draper pitch - Kodak Carousel

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:42:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republicans never promise (0+ / 0-)

        lower property taxes. They're all about the income tax and that has caused property taxes to skyrocket. A good advertising opportunity for Democrats. And as for those "certain constituencies" I think you're talking about seniors and the disabled and workers like teachers, all again (except perhaps with the disabled depending on the disability) excellent advertising opportunities.

        Using my free speech while I still have it.

        by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:45:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All these advertising diaries show w/the same flaw (0+ / 0-)

    Every single similar diary I've read on DKos operates on the principle that WI voters were persuadable through advertising. Based on my past 16 months of living here and interacting with Walker supporters says this is untrue.

    I cannot recall a single person I've spoken to who changed their mind on the Walker administration. Not one.

    The cold hard fact diarists here ignore is that more voters support the easy-answers/all-is-well GOP than support us, the tough-problems/change-is-needed progressives. That's the issues, not yard signs ...

    ...which WORK by the way. I'll take ear-witness testimony from WI-Sen Bob Wirch and WI-Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca's lips on that.

    •  It's possible that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      1. you were not speaking to the right target market and 2. that people don't like to admit they're affected by advertising, but sales numbers throughout history prove that advertising works. Of course, there is also 3. that the Republican easy answers were developed through market research and sold through advertising.

      Using my free speech while I still have it.

      by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:54:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Four (0+ / 0-)

        Regardless of advertising, a shitload of WI resident sincerely wanted Scott Walker to win. Did, do, and will still do so tomorrow.

        I repeat: the diaries I read on DKos were universally unwilling to look this fact in the face.

  •  OT spoiler warning would have been nice. (0+ / 0-)

    I am not a cable subscriber and have to wait to see the newest episodes.    

  •  ok readers (0+ / 0-)

    What about Hollywood money. We're we duped into shunning it? Were celebrities pressured to stop donating? Shouldn't we stop laughing at Streisand jokes--heck, she is a pretty good singer and was probably made into a villain by Republicans hoping she'd fade into the background. Don't we need our own strategic initiative to get it back? How can we get it back?

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:04:10 AM PDT

    •  Take everyone's money, but I don't.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....think that Dems should have Hollwyood personalities actively campaign for Dem causes.  Do you recall Whoopi's vulgar remark during a Kerry fundraiser?  And what about the detestable Bill Maher.  If I'm repulsed by them, I can only imagine how they're perceived in rural/suburban areas.

      I would also have Dems use neuroscience in crafting TV ads.  Don't trust what focus groups say.  Rather, place caps with neurosensors on focus group participants to gauge how the brain responds to TV spots.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:20:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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