February 29, 2008

Hillary's Dilemma

Nothing Hillary is doing or saying is having any traction against Obama. The Clinton campaign must have tried out 5 different strategies in the past month alone, and nothing is working. There is a lesson here for advertisers about the heirarchy of message impact.

Obama is clearly the emotional choice among Democrats. Hillary will never beat him at the emotion game and should stop trying.

Her strategy has been to counter his emotional appeal with a message of "experience" and "ability". These are vague notions that have very little impact. There are only 3 ways to beat an emotional favorite:

Be specific. Be specific. Be specific.

"I will end the war in 90 days."
"I will grant citizenship to all immigrants in 60 days."
"I will introduce legislation to allow all defaulted mortgage holders to stay in their homes for 1 year."

I'm not saying that any of this is good policy, I'm just saying that in order to get back in the game, she needs a specific, concrete message that will appeal to Democrats.

And for us ad people, the lesson is that there is a heirarchy of message impact:

1. A specific, powerful fact
2. Emotion
3. Everything else

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