Thursday, July 08, 2004

News: Babbit's Sturm & Twang

The GOP is unamused by Paul Babbitt's new radio ditty. Babbitt's campaign rediscovers the power of the campaign jingle from earlier days of campaign strategems to poke a finger in the eye of the GOP, and indirectly, that of his opponent, Rick Renzi. An appealing and catchy tune often formed an important part of a campaign's image. But of late, music and lyrics composed specifically for a candidate or campaign have fallen out of favor. Instead campaigns tend to select a popular song which reflects the mood or theme of a campaign.

But as any advertising exec can tell you, there is nothing as powerful as either adapting a song, or composing one, which sybolizes and recalls to mind a product; or a candidate for that matter. The Babbitt campaign displayed great creativity by bringing back a campaign staple from yesteryear. An appeal to the emotions and aesthetic senses of voters can bring a considerable payoff when the mood of the electorate is restive and dissatisfied. Classic campaign techniques didn't become classics by being duds.

In addition, the existence of this campaign tool in MP3 format allows the Babbitt campaign to spread its humourous and slightly subversive message in a powerful way not available in the days of yore; over the internet. By attaching an MP3 of this humorous diddy to email, they'll get a viral distribution pattern that radio could never achieve. Because it does not specifically relate solely to CD 1 and Paul's race, the message may resonate with other voters around the country; voters ready to make donations. They could even get fancy and deploy email-based campaign literature with the MP3 attached.

It may not be long before the Washington GOP strategists puppeteering the Renzi campaign will be kicking themselves for not thinking of the idea first. If Renzi were closer to Arizona's people and values, he might have responded with some soul and wit, rather than allowing a bland and insulting statement from a spokesman of the RNCC to be released on his behalf. But that's par for the course for the Renzi campaign. Renzi's strategy, policy, and marching orders all come from the GOP leadership, not from the people of his district.

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