Friday, November 21, 2008

A bit of Obama

Campaign strategists seek to make the look and feel of their campaign unique and distinct from their competitors. With great luck, they will be so unique and distinct as to set new standards. There is no doubt that the Obama campaign set a high bar for campaign look and feel.

As a quick and compact brand identity, you just can't beat the "O" logo. This showed up everywhere in many many forms. My bet is that it is already one of the most recognizable visual identities on the planet for a logo only three years old. The design was no accident. The story is that it was produced in a short two weeks from start to finish by a firm with no prior experience in campaign work.

It will be interesting to see how other campaigns will steal from the Obama one. You would think there might be some shame in doing that but you would be wrong. Campaigns are ruthless in stealing whatever works. Check out the on the Russian-language or Hebrew versions of the campaign web sites of Benjamin Netanyahu, the conservative Likud leader running for prime minister of Israel, and you will see clones of the Obama site.

The other unique and distinct quality the Obama campaign had was the candidate's distinctive speaking style. He was up against another distinctive speaker, John McCain. McCain even branded his bus with his speaking style: The Straight Talk Express. In another campaign cycle, that phenomena would have attracted more comment. In this campaign cycle, that rhetorical device was swamped and overwhelmed in the face of the most effective orator in political generations. People will be writing and publishing articles and books on the Obama oratorical and rhetorical style, devices, origins, influences, accomplishments, effects and any other way you can analyze and break it down; count on filling a long shelf. But as a quick overview, this BBC article covers the essential qualities. I've mentioned before that Obama rhetorical style is musical; I'm not the only one who thought so:
He may have calmness, notes Mr Collins, but the range of his delivery - the way he alters his pace, tone and rhythm - is closer to song.

"His style of delivery is basically churchy, it's religious: the way he slides down some words and hits others - the intonation, the emphasis, the pauses and the silences," he explains.

"He is close to singing, just as preaching is close to singing. All writing is a rhythm of kinds and he brings it out, hits the tune. It's about the tune, not the lyrics, with Obama."

No comments: