I left a comment to this post: Whiskey Bar: Bush Hits the Trifecta Again. My comment:
As a marketer, I think that all this “outrage” is going to do is amplify Bush’s message, which is “Bush 9/11 Bush 9/11.” It’s intentional – carefully calculated, releasing the first ads with these pictures. Of course they knew what the response would be — they counted on it. It’s free advertising to have all the news outlets reporting that people are outraged that Bush is using 9/11 pictures in his ads. His TARGET audience will be reinforced by that. To them the news reports will just be seen as liberals whining. (I haven’t tuned in to Limbaugh for a few days, but wanna bet something like that is today’s theme?)
Others, regular Americans who don’t pay a lot of attention, will take in the message, the association between Bush and 9/11 and nothing else. “Bush 9/11 Bush 9/11”. They aren’t going to spend a lot of time. They’ll see the ads, and it will push a message into one side of the brain — Bush 9/11 Bush 9/11 — and then they’ll hear some news report or some discussion and that will push it in the other side – Bush 9/11 Bush 9/11. That’s how marketing works — it’s called “spell my name right.”
NO ONE BUT US understands or cares about the finer point of the politicization of 9/11 as a bad thing. The REASON they politicize 9/11 is that it WORKS for them. We can be as outraged as we want, but as long as there is no consequence to them, of course they’ll politicize 9/11. Because it does work. These ads show that this is where they are going to go 100% – because it works.
An anecdote — a friend in Intel marketing told me that the best thing that ever happened to Intel was that math error as they were releasing the Pentium chip. They were in the process of changing from a number – 80586 or something – to a name so they could “brand” the idea of a processor chip. So “Pentium” was the brand. And then they have this math error and every news outlet in the country writes about it. But all consumers came away with was that Intel is now naming chips instead of numbering them, and everyone remembered the name. The math error was worth tens of millions in free advertising for their new branding campaign.
The Bush people aren’t stupid. They are the people who market tobacco to kids. They convince people to kill themselves but to hand them their money first.
I left a similar comment to this post at american street.
Update – I just came across this: Bush Campaigns Amid a Furor Over Ads,
Mr. Bush’s aides said that they would not pull the commercials and that the battle over them could even work to their advantage by focusing new attention on what they said was the president’s forceful response to the attacks and the continued threat from terrorists.
They said the controversy had been expected and was serving their aim of changing the debate from Democratic turf like health care and jobs to Mr. Bush’s strongest suit, national security.
“Are we on the Democrats’ issue of health care, or are we on the Republican issue of national security?” said one Republican official with ties to the campaign. “On Wednesday we rolled out the spot — we changed the tone fundamentally. They missed the opportunity to tell the American people what the campaign is about. This is how the president has framed the question before the American people.”