First off, this is an a-political post. I have no horse in the race. I’m just looking at the marketing/media issues of this situation.
If you haven’t heard, there’s a web video circulating that uses footage from the classic 1984 Apple spot. However, in this version, Hillary Clinton takes the place of “Big Brother”. And the tagline sends people to the Obama campaign site. See the spot here…
There’s been quite a bit of speculation about if the ad came from the Barack Obama camp. It turns out the answer was “kinda” as someone who worked for an internet strategy firm hired by the Obama campaign did it on their own. (and has been fired for it)
There’s lots of big thoughts here, and I could expand on each of these points, but here are some quick ponderings…
1) Welcome to the Tipping Point for user-generated content and politics. If candidates thought that bloggers were trouble in the last election cycle, they haven’t seen anything yet. Sure, this ad was created by a “professional”, but it could have just as easily been done by anyone else. And the line between professional and homemade with viral web video is miniscule.
2) Wake up. Everyone is now able to create their own political ad (or any kind of ad, for that matter). If you have a message and an internet connection, you have the world’s attention. This has been clear for some time now, but the mainstream has just picked up on it.
3) If you think you can control your marketing mesage, you’re wrong. If two tightly controlled soundbite driven political campaigns can’t control their messaging, what makes you think you can?
4) The thing that I’ve seen no one mention about all this is the fact that Apple’s message was corrupted. I’m sure the iPod generation doesn’t really know the 1984 ad (actually, I could make the argument that not many people outside the advertising world know anything about it). But, it’s something to consider. Is someone going to re-format your focused marketing for their own purpose?
Bottom line: You no longer have dominant control over messages. The best you can hope for is to guide the conversation. If you’re just now figuring this out, you’re in trouble.