Via local political blogger Ruby Sinreich of LotusMedia, I'm tickled to discover that part of the web strategy of the John Edwards campaign is a charmingly ambiguous slogan, "John Edwards is good." This is good marketing for a couple of reasons (this might make a better post for my work blog):
- The slogan's ambiguity allows individuals to inhabit it with their own meaning.
- The assertion intrinsically conveys a positive message, which suits Edwards' apparent temperament and strengths, such as they are.
- The simplicity of the phrase is reminiscent of that other great political slogan, "I like Ike."
Another compelling aspect of this, apart from its appeal to the young and web savvy (is that a soap opera title yet?), is that no one appears to have tried to stake a proprietary claim to the slogan. It is not really clear, in fact, what if any role the official campaign might be playing.
This not only strengthens its appeal to web savvy, creative commons, "influencer-types," it keeps a positive message from being compromised by negative associations that would accompany trying to enforce exclusivity. People can, as Ruby points out, really make it their own.
By way of illustration: I like Edwards even though I don't particularly agree with him on several issues. I disliked the protectionist flavor of his shtick on economic policies during the last election. His advocacy of withdrawal from Iraq strikes me as simplistic (although I'll certainly admit that no amount of nuance seems to offer a more compelling argument to do anything else at the moment). My positive feelings toward Edwards arise from two (arguably silly) things:
- His wife, who is likable and in every way speaks well of his character.
- A comment he made in response to a set of questions during the last election about his favorite way to spend downtime, which was something along the lines of "sitting on the couch watching Scooby-Doo with my kids."
These small details made me feel as if I might actually enjoy having the Edwards to a backyard cookout, a sentiment for which John Kerry offered nothing comparable. It is interesting but not relevant to my feelings toward Edwards that an old friend of mine, Matt Gross, is apparently advising the campaign on Internet strategy (no doubt he is one of many). For what it's worth, I also like John McCain.