Tuesday, September 2, 2008

McCain Opts for More Traditional Veep Announcement

On Aug. 22, we mentioned the clever way the Obama campaign was notifying supporters and media of his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden:

It’s a clever idea on Obama's part to use text messaging and email to make the announcement; thus reinforcing to what most polling indicates is his base: younger, tech savvy voters. Despite some hoaxes, it has also generated some nice PR for him outside the usual stuff we get every four years when it's veep announcement time...Have you signed up for the text message? Like Obama or not, it makes you part of history when that text message notice beeps, for whatever that's worth. Next week we'll look at what McCain is doing to build buzz for his Veep pick.

Though it did leak out close to the end, we give Obama points for bringing new media into play in this high interest story. It also had the effect of engaging younger voters and generating solid “buzz.”

The Sauce on McCain

Well, if Obama went with something fresh and new, John McCain instead went for the more traditional approach--a smart move if he wants to position himself differently than his rival.

His announcement of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin went the normal, joint announcement route. Also, he did do a bit of a head fake—suggesting strongly the nominee could have been Sen. Lieberman, Mitt Romney or Gov. Tim Pawlenty—but instead he introduced the relatively unknown governor of the Last Frontier. Complete with a crowd whipped into frenzy and even some cheerleaders, McCain stunned the punditocracy and the nation. Though we don’t think it was nearly as innovative or interesting as Obama’s method, it still managed to generate plenty of buzz by virtue of his off-the-wall pick.

Extra points for the fact that, despite making the announcement on the Friday of Labor Day weekend (Fridays are typically a media dead zone--often called the "media dump day" because people just aren't watching the news in large numbers on a Friday night--and make that Friday the kickoff for a holiday weekend, it's even less), McCain still managed to get killer press.

So, both candidates managed to pull off a PR coup in their announcements. Now after the conventions end and the last bits of ticker tape are swept up, the real fun begins.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Please remember, this post is about their PR strategy, not their politics...

1 comment:

jake said...

Kudos to both campaign staffs for the way they made their announcements.

Obama for his use of new technology. I signed up for the text message and encouraged all my friends and family to do they same. Although tech savvy, I am not considered younger. However, John McCain does have me by a few years.

The McCain campaign also deserves credit for their announcement. What better way to generate buzz on your choice of a vice presidential candidate on a Friday, than picking one with absolutely no credentials for leading the country. Not really sure if that is the buzz they wanted, but they got it.