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September 22, 2006

Political Internet Marketing Underway

Even though politicians like to paint a rosy picture when it comes to their election chances, I am almost always underwhelmed when it comes to the execution of their Internet strategies. Navigating poorly designed websites with sparse, vague content, I always have a hard time finding all of the information I need about a candidate to make an informed decision, and because of the propensity of candidates to lie or mislead, I am usually skeptical about the promises they make.

For those of you don't know, we have a comedian/songwriter running for governor  of Texas named Kinky Friedman (learn about it on HotAir.com). He's not being given much of a chance by the media  but I really dig his website. Leave it to a career entertainer to get the marketing done right. Two of his most pithy slogans  are, "I can't screw things up any more than they already are," and "Why the hell not!" What's great is that the website even has a talking action figure that uses some of his colorful phrases.

After seeing this, I am convinced that every politician should have an action figure that says what the candidate thinks, even if the website leaves us a little unfulfilled.

The maintenance of government must depend on more than just clever marketing, but only the foolish believe that marketing doesn't play an integral part. And the Internet is going to play a greater role in that marketing as time goes on. Seth Godin observes:

Your political goals (right, left or center) don't really change the reality that marketing in politics is changing forever. The idea of a spend-and-burn candidacy is fading (how much more than a billion dollars per cycle can we spend?) and it's being replaced by a person-by-person, viral approach that relies more than ever on authentic storytelling and worldviews.

As the nature of politicians is to irresponsibly spend money that isn't theirs, I do think that they can spend more than a billion dollars per cycle. Much more. However, the Internet does open up opportunities for a clever member of the unwashed masses to woo voters with their gimmick, shtick, or even -- dare I say it? -- intellect, foresight, and wisdom.

But more likely, we'll just get pirates in Congress. - Cam Beck



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