Mitt Romney: Will political branding lead to the White House?

Mitt Romney: The marketing of a presidential candidate
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor on

Edition number 27 in this Digital Markets Blog presidential campaign 2008 series on what I am calling “User Generated Politics”

Is the U.S. presidential campaign a high-powered, high-stakes one for “truth, justice and the American way,” or is it a high-financed, highly-packaged race for the ultimate piece of real estate, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The strategists behind Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney may be betting more on the latter, according to The Boston Globe reports of a 77-slide PowerPoint presentation prepared by the campaign to outline a strategic branding plan for the candidate. 

Romney announced his candidacy last month which prompted a statement from “The Democratic Party,” paid for by the Democratic National Committee:

Smooth talking Mitt Romney's lackluster announcement confirms why he has a bumpy road ahead of him," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Voters have already figured out that Romney is a smooth talker whose only true commitment is to saying whatever he thinks people want to hear so he can get elected. That's hardly the kind of leadership the American people are looking for.

Regardless of the self-serving nature of the statements of Democratic competitors, The Boston Globe analysis of the Romney campaign “blueprint” suggests a "Primal Code for Brand Romney" is under development:
Dated December 11, the blueprint is wide-ranging and analyzes in detail the strengths and weaknesses of Romney and his two main Republican rivals, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Rudolph W. Giuliani, former mayor of New York. The plan, which top Romney strategist Alex Castellanos helped to draft, charts a course for Romney to emerge as the nominee, but acknowledges that the "electorate is not where it needs to be for us to succeed." 

How does Romney aim to succeed in his branded quest for the White House? 

Romney will define himself in part by focusing on and highlighting enemies and adversaries, such common political targets as "jihadism," the "Washington establishment," and taxes, but also Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, "European-style socialism," and, specifically, France. Even Massachusetts, where Romney has lived for almost 40 years, is listed as one of those "bogeymen," alongside liberalism and Hollywood values.

The Democratic candidates (in particular Barck Obama so far) are not shying away from Hollywood values, however, as I analyze in Oprah Winfrey embraces Barack Obama: Can she drive votes? and Barack Obama million dollar star in Hollywood.


ALSO: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to march (almost) together


More in this Digital Markets Special Series:
YouTube: Presidential candidates cool in ‘User Generated Politics’ campaign 2008
John McCain to David Letterman: I announce!
Bill Clinton million dollar email campaign for Hillary
John Edwards NOT Social Networking for ‘User Generated Politics’
John McCain announces McCain Space! Republican ‘User Generated Politics’ 
Hillary Clinton trumps Barack Obama, on eBay!

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