With many early ballots already cast and Election Day just around the corner, we think it is the perfect time to discuss how brands have weighed in on this election season.
First, we have to ask…should brands even enter the political conversation? Many PR and Marketing experts would say no, any political conversation can be risky and therefore too polarizing, But this year the consensus has changed. Many brands have been able to successfully use the events surrounding this campaign to create their own effective marketing campaign.
Seemingly one of the first brands to weigh in on the election, JetBlue posted this social experiment/commercial back in February. The airline surprised a plane full of passengers with a free flight to wherever they wanted–but there was a catch. All 150 passengers had to agree on the same destination.
There is a new way to match on Tinder–the app has partnered with Rock the Vote to create a collaborative campaign–”Swipe the Vote.” Users are presented with several hot-button topics and then matched with a candidate based on which way they swiped. The app also provides information on the closest polling booth for users to cast their votes on November 8th.
The instant pancake brand joined in the political conversation during Presidential Election #2, asking fans to join the conversation using the hashtag #PancakesvsWaffles. There is some disagreement online about whether this campaign was successful or tasteless. On one hand, the brand campaign was seen as a clever way to poke fun at this year’s election. On the other hand, some Twitter users saw the campaign as tasteless and tone-deaf. This is the risk that brands take when jumping into politics.
Perhaps one of the most successful and least polarizing campaigns was Excedrin’s #debateheadache. The brand simply promoted tweets urging users to take care of their political headache using Excedrin. The hashtag took off, and was used more than the official debate hashtag #debatenight. The campaign was positively received by most, and was seemingly successful in entering the political conversation while still appealing to supporters of both candidates.
Esurance created a clever commercial appealing to Americans worried about this year’s election outcome. The fictitious insurance plan would insure an owner’s home for four years if they decide to leave the country for the next president’s term. The insurance includes yard maintenance, holiday decorations and more. Once again, this is another good example of finding a way to enter the conversation while appealing to both sides.
So, what do you think? Should brands be using this election season to do their own campaigning? Which brands do you think went too far and which ones had the perfect tongue-and-cheek approach? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Ride for the Brand,
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