Tag Archives: obama ’08

Enough About Politics

[Sorry, this post isn't about "food politics"; it's more about "food" and "politics."]

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During dinner with a couple friend last night, my girl friend said, “I’m really surprised we didn’t talk about politics tonight.  I always thought you were really knowledgeable about it.” (or something like that…)

A few reactions instantaneously popped into my head:

  • Oh, that’s so flattering!  Thank you.
  • I don’t know as much about the election, or politics in general, as I should.  But thanks for thinking that.  I’ll definitely work harder on doing my research and finding out the details of each candidate’s platforms.
  • My friend M from college could blow me out of the water.  Are you kidding? I’m like novice ^infinity.
  • Uh… sorry… *munch munch munch*… This salmon is delicious.  I can’t stop… *munch* eating *munch*… what were we talking about again?  (BTW, thanks for the recipe.  Seriously.  Best salmon ever!)

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Truth is I have done my research.  After the primaries and finally accepting the Obama over Clinton win, I didn’t know much about McCain Camp.  In fact, I saw him in Letterman and thought, “Wow, he’s a really nice guy.  Maybe we’ll have a real reformer on the Republican end, and American can see social reform AND lower taxes.” Wait… don’t stop reading… [and definitely don't use this as a sound byte]… cuz I was dead wrong.  Let me repeat that dead bleeping wrong.

So I started by watching the news, reading political blogs, monitoring links and bites on Twitter and Tumblr (yes, I admit this is overly liberal).  Most importantly, I went to each candidate’s websites.  Now, some may think that’s the last place to go.  After all, this is where McCain and Obama get to paint their picture perfect version of the U.S.  But that’s exactly what I want.  If their websites aren’t able to convince me (and most of my friends are liberals and campaign commercials are always too vague and inflammatory), then what will?

I’ve written over the past few weeks, posts on some of the issues where McCain and Obama take diverging stances (to put it lightly).  This is what I’ve discovered:

Fuck the issues.

FUCK THE ISSUES.

Here’s why.  We’re trapped in a jacked up love triangle.  The only choices are McCain or Obama (realistically anyway), and we have to choose.  Now both want to get elected, so they’ll sweet talk us and send us flowers and promise to love us forever.  They’re politically wooing us right now.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses.  Each their own opinions on issues.

But the question we really need to ask ourselves is, “Which one is going to stick around after we’ve said yes and let them have their way with us?”

Or better yet, “Who do we trust?”

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We know that McCain hasn’t always been faithful to the Republican party.  He’s a maverick, right?

We know that he has to answer to major corporations.  So when the economy’s gone to shit (“We have about a year… a year and a half more of this…” according to an analyst after Pepsi Co. fired… sorry… ‘laid off’ over 3,000 employees today), who’s McCain going to come home to?  The public?  He’s already had us.  We voted for him and everything.  Obviously, from the last 8 years, we’ve proven that impeachment doesn’t work.  Or the major corporations and banks like Citigroup and Bank of America, who can very much affect McCain, his friends and the people around him?

We know McCain picked one of the most inexperienced Vice Presidential candidates in history, and she’s completely incapable of answering the simplest questions with preparation and note cards.  She’s a smooth talker, so there’s no excuses.  Palin just didn’t know the answer.  You comfortable with that?  Cuz I sure ain’t.

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Now, what do we know about Obama?

Obama championed to stop all lobbying.  What does mean?  Hold back, giant corporations.  Thou shall not influence his decisions on whether to benefit the rich or the poor.

His platforms are not based on broad statements about how hardworking Americans are or how we deserve better.  Are we hardworking?  Sure.  Do we deserve better?  If we earn it, then yes.  But those aren’t his points.  Obama has specific goals and plans that he says he will carry out over the next four years.  It doesn’t mean that he will, but I sure trust specific timelines and strategies over general, sweeping wishes.

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So there you have it.  I choose Obama because I believe he will be true to his word.  And that’s more important than all the promises in the world.

X

[Image courtesy of shiftingheat. There used to be an image here, but the artist (not the one linked) is being a poopface (read: complete asshole) about credits.  FYI, I'm more than happy to credit your art, but 1) please allow time to do so, i.e. more than a day, and 2) tell me which piece is yours.  I'm too lazy to scour the internets to figure it out, so please help me. :) ]

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On a completely different note…

Google,

I believe in you, and I believe that I would deliver 110% as your Chief Marketing Officer… err… you don’t have a CMO?  Really?  Well, let me get right back to ya on the specific title, all righty?

You embody the right philosophy, and your employees deserve praise for their innovation and dedication.  Together, we can make a better internet.  We can kick Yahoo’s ass and leave victorious.  Now is not the time to withdraw and hide.  We need to dedicate as many resources as possible to this vital threat.  Screw Microsoft, Powerset, Ask, Facebook and the others.  Yahoo’s the real threat.

And let’s make sure Google’s staff has the tools for making more innovations.  We shouldn’t educate them on the best practices for managing a side project/start-up.  Instead, we should verbally dissuade them from making anything new, but let’s make sure they have the tools just the same.

Oh, last thing.  In this ailing economy, Google certainly understands the hardships people are having.  We should pay larger dividends on all Google stock.  Sure, the payout benefits major shareholders and the executive management the most, but it’ll all trickle down.  A payout’s a payout, right?

… Google.  I know with me as your CMO, we will make a brighter internet for tomorrow.  Sure, I’m just two years out of college, but I have been the social director, professional chair and president of multiple clubs.  And heck, I manage a WordPress blog, a Tumblelog and a Twitter.  If that doesn’t make me fit to be CMO, I sure as heck don’t know what will.

Vote fer… err… hire me!

Your patrio… supporter,

Jany

Update: July 6, 2010  Apparently, I didn’t credit the artist (totally not going to pimp him out) for one of the above images.  Apologies.  That image has since been removed (at least I don’t have to deal with him anymore).

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Filed under funnnie, politics, pr/marketing, social, tech

Politics & The History of Marketing

PART I

My last post on the vice presidential debate highlighted the great marketing campaign of the GOP.  I say marketing because many of you pointed out via emails and ims that Sarah Palin, and to some extend John McCain, focuses on broad sweeping statements about some utopian United States without much in the way of a plausible road map.  Well… that’s what worries me most of this campaign, as did the campaign in 2004.

The American people have always held on to great hope for the future.  It’s been the promise of the American dream that’s driven so many people to immigrate to this great country (yes, it’s still great).  And that’s exactly the tactic that the republican party focuses on during election time.  They toy with our optimism, fondle our emotions and make those sweeping generalizations about how their candidate, McCain, will change the U.S. and the middle class for the better.

But so many supporters of the GOP at major corporations and the wealthy.  They hold much more sway over the party than the millions of rural, small town and middle class families.  Can we trust that they will serve us over the rich?  Has the last 8 years taught us nothing?

But the Obama and democratic party actually gives clear goals and action plans that cite the benefits, costs and consequences on the economy, healthcare, social security, foreign affairs, the energy crisis/global warming, etc.

But at the end of the day, as we learned in Made to Stick, the emotional appeal works much more effectively than the factual… right?

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PART II

Well to explain, let’s examine the brief history of marketing [via lessons from my management 101 class at The Wharton School].

Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start – The Sound of Music). Marketing is defined as “an ongoing process of planning and executing the marketing mix for products, services or ideas to create exchange between individuals and organizations.”  Advertising, public relations, research, branding among others all fit under the marketing umbrella.  But marketing is the core strategy that directs all of the above.

New technology = economic growth.  The Industrial Evolution spurred the beginning of mass production.  No longer do we have to make our own clothes because the cotton mills could do it faster and cheaper.  Great!  With Ford’s application of the assembly line, the Model-T was so much more cost effective car that the average American could afford.  Great!  However, there wasn’t much in the way of marketing.  No strategic placement of a product or service, finding market segments, developing a unique selling point.  There was no need.  It’s “any color, as long as it’s black.”

Skip forward to proliferation of the market place.  Developments in transportation, packaging and refrigeration means that people now have a choice in what they want to buy.  These were especially apparent in the CPGs (consumer packaged goods) like Heinz ketchup (“47 varieties!”), Campbell’s soup (“M’m m’m good” since 1935), Coca-Cola (“Deliciously refreshing” 1900) and so many more.  Slogans were a way to set products apart from competitors and a catchy phrase to help advertising and consumer choices.

From there, marketing mutated to a complex machine.  In order to keep things brief (because it gets a lot more complicated), here are some highlights in no particular order.

  • Proctor & Gamble realized that it’s better to cannibalize their own products, if it means gaining more of the marketing.  Just in their family of detergents, they have Tide as a household name and top market brand.  Cheer and Gain, which sorry for not knowing, play somewhere in the mid-cost, mid-performance range.  (I’m sure PG has gigabytes of consumer studies, scanner data and much more market research on the differentiators and market segments under each.  I just don’t know them.)  Then Era at the bottom (which I assume b/c I’ve never heard of it… maybe it has higher market proliferation abroad).
  • Intel evolved into a household name by using both the push and pull strategy.  During a time when chips were a dime a dozen and consumers weren’t aware of what went into their computers, Intel pushed their chips as the top of the line.  More importantly, they pulled consumers in with effective advertising and PR (all part of marketing).  Make sure that your computer has “Intel inside” to guarantee quality, etc.
  • Pepsi, as the newcomer, challenged Coca-Cola with their blind taste test, and stupidly Coca-Cola (instead of leaning on their tradition, branding and established consumer base) fell for the trap.  They came up with New Coke.  Sure… months later with people across the nation hoarding the old stuff and complaining so fervently, Coke came back with Coca-Cola Classic.  But Pepsi had make it’s mark, and they’re still competing with about 50-50 market share (depending on country) of beverages and snack products.  [Side note: some people suspect that Coke had introduced New Coke as a ploy to convince the public how much they really love Coca-Cola.  I think the executives were just idiotic.  Side note #2: Coca-Cola determined a few years ago that there are 27 beverage opportunities in a day.  Yeah, 27.]

Those are just three very quick snapshots of successful marketing techniques and how much marketing’s evolved from “47 varieties!”

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Now every company is trying to differentiate itself.  We have dozens of choices.  Brands are freaking sub-branding, creating off-shoots and variations.  There’s like 12 types of Tylenol ache, cold and flu medicines.  When I’m in pain, I just want “THIS IS THE ONE YOU NEED.”  So advertising’s become less effective.  Direct mail’s also less effective because my mailbox is full of ads I don’t want.  [Discover, unless you're giving me 10% cash back, which I know you can't afford, stop sending me biweekly mail.  I'm not going to accept your 'exclusive offer.']  Telemarketers hounds us all the time.  These annoying marketing techniques work because they’re so cost effective that a few “YES’s” make up for the majority of “NO’s.” [Unfortunately, they also give marketing a bad name.  It's become an industry of shoving shit people don't want down their throats.  Not true marketing: exposing product/service options to audiences who want to know.]

The problem was that companies were offering their guarantees so often that what they say mean nothing to us.  We’re emotional numb to their appeals and no longer trusted their slogans.  At the end of the day, no matter how kitschy or cute the advertising is, if the product/service ain’t work, we ain’t buying it.   So things started to change.

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Remember new technology = economic growth.  Internet = proliferation and democratization of information.  The normal paradigms of advertising, public relations and branding are changing.  Thus, marketing (the planning of such) is evolving as well.

Inventions like TiVo and DVRs help us skip the ads, while companies are trying to find ways to ‘cut through the clutter.’  Marketers are moving online.  Okay, yes, a lot of the bad habits of marketers have moved online.  The flashy, corny banners.  The incessant pop-ups selling us crap and then selling us pop-up blockers.  The spam, even from legitimate companies (you have the money; hire an email-marketer!).

But this is just the beginning.  More and more, word of mouth is playing a role.  Blogs and influencers across the web are popping up and spreading relevant information to interested niches.  Email marketers are popping up with opt-in policies and reassurances that our information isn’t getting sold to the evil spammers.  Semantic search and backend settings allow us to just see ads and banners that may be of interest to us.  Because we do want marketing.  It helps us find out about great sales, the new android phone or 20% off coupons.  We just don’t want what we don’t care about.

So here’s the lesson: marketing works.  Emotionally appealing to audiences works.  BUT.  BUT, there has to be facts that support the emotion.  In order to prevent buyer’s remorse and to keep a customer (which is so much cheaper than acquiring a new one), the product/service has to deliver.

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Part III

Thanks for sticking with me. :-)

Presidential nominations are like laundry detergent.  We have to choose one.

The difference (other than the fact that one is soap and one is people) is that the companies and branding may stay the same, democrats, republicans, independents, etc., but the product changes all the time.  Last time around it was Kerry and Bush.  Now it’s Obama and McCain.  So we can’t rely 100% on past experience to determine which one we want this time.

But we learn from shopping (an everyday task of differentiating among products and choosing what’s right for us) that we have the tools to make those decisions.  For example, we know that we care about the product specs above marketing gimmicks.  As a shoe fanatic (I have the proverbial shoe closet), Manolos would go so much better with my lifestyle brand.  However, they hurt my feet, don’t fit as well and quite frankly, I’d rather save $200 and buy Kate Spades.

The same should go for decisions on candidacy! Yes, I love America.  Yes, I want the government to be for the people again.  Yes, I want someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the authority and be a ‘maverick.’ But that doesn’t mean I’m going to blindly go on my emotions and not look at the FACTS!

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1) I’m SO enraged that the GOP would use a cheesy marketing ploy to try and fool the American people.

2) Even more so, I’m irked that the public would buy into it!

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FACT: Sure, she’s cute and a MILF, but Sarah Palin said exactly 0 about specific plans of the McCain doctrine.

FACT: A ‘blanket’ tax cut helps the rich exponentially more than it helps “the Joe six-packs and hockey moms.”  (see below)

FACT: Obama’s healthcare reform includes a specific plan.  He plans to “make employer contributions more fair.”  HOW? … “by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.”  McCain’s healthcare plan is full of unsupported claims.  “John McCain will reform health care making it easier for individuals and families to obtain insurance.” How?  Not sure… but “Americans [sure] are working harder and longer, yet the amount workers take home in their paychecks is not keeping pace because of rising health care costs.”  Really?  I wasn’t aware.

FACT: Obama’s foreign policy talks about the situations, the factors and multiple influences we have as a country to resolve/strengthen the problem/our position. McCain… doesn’t have “foreign policy” on his website…  Apparently, it’s not that important to him…  The closest thing I found was “national security.”

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Look, I’m not going into all the issues and who said what (all from their websites).  You can do your own research.

The point is that when we’re making such an important decision that affects not only Americans but the entire world, shouldn’t we look above the marketing ploys that tug at our heart strings and get to the not-as-interesting facts?

To answer the first question, wayyyy above: the emotional appeal works much more effectively than the factual… right?

We’ll see.  But it shouldn’t.

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Filed under politics, pr/marketing, social, tech

Well, Gosh Darn It, Dontcha Know.

Oh, gosh.  How to start.

1. I think I’m starting to talk like her [Sarah Palin], which is freaking me out and forever destroying my warm fuzzy feelings of Bobby’s World with Howie Mandell.

2. The Vice Presidential Debate at Washington Univesity in St. Louis gave the voters are great sense of both democratic and republic platforms.  Namely that Obama/Biden have concrete plans for energy, economy, education, international policies (which is one of my biggest concerns), LGBT rights and “the war on terror.”  On the contrary, McCain/Palin talk a lot of rhetoric of representing the American people, the average Joe, drilling in Alaska and “straight talk.”  Even the website doesn’t give specific details and plans, which if you look at Obama’s site, each issue is clearly spelled out with bullet points on analysis and a plan of action.

2a. During the primaries, I specifically blogged a chat with my friend stating that Hillary had a specific plan of attack and Barack didn’t.  Of course, as with many Hillary voters, I would have liked her to win.  But they’re so close on all the issues; the only major difference is in their leadership styles.

Now, Obama has a definitive plan and McCain… not so much.

3. I love Biden’s concrete examples of how to tackle the energy crisis, the specifics of economic stimulation, the U.S. relations with Iran and Afghanistan, etc.  The bar is much lower for Palin.  Thankfully, she was well-prepare, had extensive notes and smiled a whole gosh darn lot. *wink*

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I’ve listened to the pundits’ opinions (and agree that Bidden was less talkative & Palin pretty well spoken).  Here are some of my personal take-aways:

  • Clarification: foreign countries do not hate us because they’re jealous of our “freedom,” great nation, economy, democracy, etc.  They dislike our hypocrisy, our foreign policies, our egos and our lack of perspective (I can’t believe how many students can’t locate foreign countries on the map, and they’re easy countries like France and Spain!).
  • I loved that Palin looked at the camera when she spoke.  She was able to get a real connection with the audience.  I widh Biden did that more.  Most of the time, he was talking to Gwen Ilfill.
  • But I loved that Biden was about “here’s what we want to change and here’s how to do it,” while Palin just used a bunch of canned phrases (woman, it’s not like your speech will help with SEO; stop saying “straight talk”).
  • Sarah seems to keep going off topic and discussing the points that she has experience talking to: Joe six-pack, “straight talk,” bringing confidence in government back to the American people, her work with oil companies in Alaska and McCain’s war hero record (btw, yes, he’s a hero, but that doesn’t mean he has experience managing a country in times of war; being a soldier is completely different).  Biden’s comfortable talking across all issues.
  • Apparently, the republicans have officially coined the word nucular.
  • Although I appreciate Palin’s ability to memorize lines, she obviously isn’t well versed in Israel… or for that fact North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq or Spain.
  • Favorite line (paraphrased) from Sarah Palin: It’s okay for us to have nucular weapons because we’ll use it as a deterrent, but people who don’t like us, e.g. North Korea or Iran, absolutely cannot be allowed to develop nucular weapons.  Why I love it: if the situation is reversed, how would we react to North Korea saying, “We want to keep all the countries civil, so we’re going to keep all the nuclear weapons.  We promise not to fire.  *zing!*”
  • For the most part, I agree with Biden’s policies and loved how he spoke and what he said.  So most of my notes are on Palin.  Biden said one thing that irked me: any country who participates in genocide or harbors terrorists without any prosecution is forfeiting their right to be not invaded.  The first part, especially pertaining to Darfur, I don’t dispute.  But to say that the U.S. has the right to invade any country who harbors a group that disagrees with us… that’s too one sided for me, even if it is about security.

I really tried to be impartial, especially with my entries on abortion and healthcare.  However, the more I do research on each candidate’s platform, the more I lean towards Obama ’08.  I don’t necessarily understand how an educated person can go the other way, other than tax shelters and economic protectionism.

If you’re a republican (and actually got through this entry w/o wanting to send me hate mail :-P), please explain.  Thanks!

UPDATED: If you missed the debate, you can read the entire transcript here.

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