Hillary as Brand

worst Advertising Age, which named Barack Obama its Marketer of the Year in 2008, is digging through the Wikileaks DNC revelations and reporting on how Hillary Clinton is being managed as a corporate product. Suffice to say, this is not a small topic behind the scenes. Here’s a little snippet from a very long dialogue about the Klinton campaign’s logo design:

We have a gift in the Hillary Rodham Clinton brand because of massive recognition/awareness. Obama did not start with this. At the same time we must create a new, fresh view of that familiar brand in a truly authentic and compelling way.

To be clear, a logo can communicate and aid attribution of qualities, but it is not a proxy for the messaging of the campaign until they are relentlessly connected and delivered, repeatedly and consistently. That’s when brands take on meaning.

Rousing stuff, isn’t it? Our grandchildren will surely thank us for attending so diligently to the epoch’s burning core question of “when brands take on meaning.”

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Disaster Marketing

bud-water Capitalism thrives, as classically observed by by economist Joseph Schumpeter, on “creative destruction.” Naomi Klein has commented on how the system’s love of wreckage includes things like war, natural disasters, and anthropogenic ecological crises.

Witness, this week, the shipment of more BudWater, the latest effort of beer oligopoly AB InBev, the current manifestation of the former Anheuser-Busch corporation, at “creating marketing magic in difficult times.” Does anybody believe that this firm, which so ostentatiously played the 911 card, is shipping Florida a few trucks of water for altruistic reasons? Dollars to donuts (this is admittedly a bit of a dated quip) the national ads are already being filmed, if Hurricane Matthew does its part and creates enough newsworthy suffering.

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Consumer Vocab Note

marx According to the quasi-official English version of Karl Marx’s essay, “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon” hosted at marxists.org, Marx is supposed to have written this sentence:

“Each individual peasant family is almost self-sufficient, directly produces most of its consumer needs, and thus acquires its means of life more through an exchange with nature than in intercourse with society.”

Here, however, is what Marx actually wrote, auf Deutsch:

“Jede einzelne Bauernfamilie genügt beinahe sich selbst, produziert unmittelbar selbst den größten Teil ihres Konsums und gewinnt so ihr Lebensmaterial mehr im Austausche mit der Natur als im Verkehr mit der Gesellschaft.”

Properly translated, “ihres Konsums” means “its consumption,” not “its consumer needs.”

If TCT is right that “consumer” is a capitalist bias that ruins clear thinking about reality, then this little over- and mis-translation is of some importance, despite its obscurity.

The translator responsible was Saul K. Padover, by the way.

The “18th Brumaire,” by the way, is the source of one of the most classic (and itself poorly translated) statements of sociology’s hard-won first insight:

People make their own history, but they make it not however they want, not under self-selected circumstances, but out of the actual given and transmitted situation.

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Directors of Empathy

This, per Advertising Age, exists:

Scott Madden is senior partner-director of empathy and evolution at Boston-based Connelly Partners.

It gets even better. Here’s the promise from said agency:

At Connelly Partners, we believe in the undeniable power of empathy. So we weave it into every piece of communications we create. We call it Empathy Engineering. It’s what helps our work resonate with your target in a more powerful and memorable fashion. It’s not rocket science. It’s marketing science.

Empathy engineering. Nuff said.

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Pokemon Go and the Frontiers of Corporate Spying

pokemon logo Advertising Age today includes a typically comico-chilling observation from an ad industry worker. Speaking about big business marketers’ growing ability to gather data about cell phone users’ movements, locations, and behaviors, here’s what “Kirsten McMullen, chief privacy officer at mobile ad firm 4Info” tells AdAge:

Marketers and consumers have both become “way more comfortable with location data being used,” Ms. McMullen said.

The punchline and payload?:

[S]he also added, “Consumers remain largely unaware of it.

Of course they do, but it doesn’t stop the professional DoubeThink required for Ms. McMullen to keep doing her job.

Meanwhile, as its design ensures, corporate capitalism continues its bold march toward stronger and better market-totalitarian behavioral engineering:

While 4Info argues that using store visit data to gauge ad effectiveness is less relevant than measuring actual purchase transactions, which the company does for most of its packaged-goods advertiser clients, Mr. Moxley acknowledged the value of mobile location data for measuring mobile ad campaigns.

“The key to the mobile device is it goes everywhere,” he said. “Nobody carries their TV into the store.”

Quite so, and, as TCT always says, history’s state totalitarians must be looking up from Hades purple-faced, jealous over this deniable system’s ability to keep on rolling. Soviet citizens in 1982 would never have blithely walked around with little Brezhnev boxes in their pockets, or would at least have known who they were serving by doing so. Here, it’s “freedom.”

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