At Marketplace Consulting Group, we LOVE Presidential election marketing. They have some of the best marketers in the world teaming up behind a candidate for a very specific period of time. Winner takes all. The Presidential election has always been a marketing campaign, but it was the 2008 Obama campaign that took a deep dive into digital marketing. That is when campaign marketers took interesting to a whole new level.
With the 2016 Presidential election just over a year away, we are already seeing election marketing strategies, day-to-day tactics and lots of digital marketing. It has become apparent that a common theme with many of the candidate teams is to make their candidate seem approachable… a regular person. We saw the post-election success that Sarah Palin has had as a leader of the Tea Party with her “plain talk.” Whether it is George H.W. Bush hating broccoli, Bill Clinton playing sax on Letterman, or Obama filling out March Madness brackets, people like their modern candidates to be regular people. Many believe that to be a regular person, humor is an imperative.
Election Marketing Examples:
We are glad to see so many of our 2016 Presidential candidates, on both sides of the aisle, have a little sense of humor… or at least their Webmasters do. However, the leaders of the PAC seem to have determined the 404 Page Not Found page on every website to be a good place for an Easter Egg of humor. Take a look at the some of the more humorous 404 error pages we have uncovered (alphabetical order – so no arguing about SEO placement). First the Democrats and then the Republicans… only because D comes before R:
Hillary Clinton – Shows off the young Clinton family (Bill, Hillary and Chelsea) at Disney on a family vacation. www.hillaryclinton.com/mcg
Bernie Sanders – Funny selfie video. www.berniesanders.com/mcg
Martin O’Malley – This is the type of humor that can sink a campaign fast. It includes a photo of the candidate in uniform on a horse. We know you are thinking Putin, but it is really more Napoleon. Comparing yourself to a failed world conqueror may not be the best marketing strategy for the candidate. www.martinomalley.com/mcg
Chris Christie – At least Christie seems to laugh at himself here. He relives his most self-deprecating moment on a Jimmy Fallon video. www.chrischristie.com/mcg
Mike Huckabee – Good ol’ boy gone fishing. www.mikehuckabee.com/mcg
Jeb Bush – Tennis humor anyone? www.jeb2016.com/mcg
Bobby Jindal – Why not blame Obama for everything, including getting to the wrong page on Jindal’s site? www.bobbyjindal.com/mcg
Scott Walker – Wondering here if this was a holdover from Talk Like a Pirate Day. www.scottwalker.com/mcg
Donald Trump – Unfortunately no humor on the 404 page. www.donaldjtrump.com/mcg
Rand Paul – Appealing to those paranoid that the government is watching them, also known as Rand Paul’s base. www.randpaul.com/mcg
Lindsey Graham – Unfortunately no humor, but now that Trump gave out his personal cell phone to America, there are a lot of busy signal jokes available for his 404 page. http://www.lindseygraham.com/mcg
Rick Perry – No humor on the 404 page. This Texan is trying to play a straight shooter after his 2012 Presidential debut. www.rickperry.org/mcg
John Kasich – No humor on the 404 page, but he just announced, so give his team time to get a sense of their candidate’s humor. www.johnkasich.com/mcg.
George Pataki – No humor and really no reason for it… Come on George! www.georgepataki.com/mcg
Rick Santorum – Very funny poke at Hillary. They obviously decided to focus on poking fun at the bigger candidate rather than himself or other primary competitors. www.ricksantorum.com/mcg
Ben Carson – No humor, but he offers the hashtag #BC2DC16. We suppose the head of digital marketing is more of a Tweeter. www.bencarson.com/mcg
Carly Fiorina – Shows a video of Hillary speaking and then Fiorina shutting off the TV as to dismiss her. Funny stuff, but then she follows it up with a serious pitch for herself. www.carlyforpresident.com/mcg
Marco Rubio – This candidate is known as an inspirational speaker. So how does he do as a pee-wee football coach? www.marcorubio.com/mcg
Ted Cruz – Simply redirects to his own homepage. Maybe later in the campaign, Cruz will gain more of a sense of humor. www.tedcruz.org/mcg
Whatever the humor is and wherever we can find it, the end goal is to make the candidate seem much more personal and approachable. With the notable exception of Martin O’Malley, we think most of these marketing teams are on the right track… with overwhelming caution and moderation.