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Posts Tagged ‘election 2012’

‘Loser’ Tesla Wins Car of the Year, Mocks Mitt Romney

Photo via Stephen Lam/ReutersApologies for bringing your attention back to the 2012 election, but you may recall this Mitt Romney quote from the first presidential debate in which he criticized President Obama’s focus on “clean” energy:

“But don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into—into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this—this is not—this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.”

Turns out that Tesla, at least, has the last laugh: the company’s Model S all-electric sedan just won Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year award by unanimous 12-0 vote. The Model S is the first electric car to win in the 64-year history of the award, and its victory signals an industry-wide shift toward hybrid and electric models–if not on the road, then definitely in the design studio.

Lest we think Motor Trend simply followed the flock in making this decision, editor in chief Ed Loh stated that the magazine’s editorial board didn’t choose the Model S simply because it lacks a combustion engine; it also happens to the be the fastest and one of the quietest, best-handling American sedans on the market.

And about that Mitt Romney “loser” quote: No one at Tesla commented on the matter before the election, but designer Elon Musk, the mind behind the Model S, managed to get a final dig in after his Motor Trend victory, stating:

“In retrospect he was right about the object of that statement, but not the subject.”

Mee-oww.

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Last Night’s Winner: NYT’s Nate Silver

This afternoon we offer a semi-apology to those who follow American politics closely, because you’re going to see a whole lot of headlines like this one today and in the weeks ahead.

There’s a reason for that, though, and it needs to be covered: Nate Silver of The New York Times scored this election’s biggest branding win. He made a large portion of the  media’s pundit/PR class look ridiculous, and he did it using the most basic public relations strategy: honesty, consistent messaging and confidence in his clearly defined brand.

The fact that his book, The Signal and the Noise, quickly climbed to number 2 on the Amazon sales list today is no coincidence.

Some very quick back-story: Silver was a sports statistician who blogged electoral politics as a hobby, and in 2008 people started noticing how accurate his predictions turned out to be. The New York Times hired him as a regular contributor and began to host his blog on its main site. His audience quickly grew; he provided approximately 20% of the NYT‘s traffic in the days leading up to the vote.

For the past three weeks, Silver predicted a small but decisive Obama win despite the pundit class’s insistence that the race was “a toss-up”. Quite a few media folk lashed out, calling him partisan and insisting that his numbers were meaningless–but he never wavered. The only time Silver came anywhere close to damaging his brand was a few weeks ago, when he responded to the taunts of talk show host and former congressman Joe Scarborough with the offer of a bet–if the president lost, Silver would donate $1000 to the Red Cross on Scarborough’s behalf. NYT  public editor Margaret Sullivan questioned whether this wager was appropriate, but Silver’s fans jumped in to defend him—and we don’t think we’ll see too many criticisms coming from the management team after last night.

This is a big story—and we have confidence that it will change the political PR game in this country.

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CNN Election Night: The Empire State Building Will Determine The Winner

Didn’t think CNN could come up with a dumber pseudo-branding stunt than beaming its reporters into the studio as holograms that weren’t really holograms?

Well, tonight everyone’s favorite name in cable news plans to commandeer the Empire State Building for use as a sort of (very confusing) election barometer. We’ll let them explain:

“…the iconic beacon of Gotham will be exclusively displaying the race to 270 electoral votes with a vertical LED illuminated ‘meter’ on its spire—blue for President Obama, and red for former Governor Romney.”

Still not clear on that? It’s OK, neither are we–but we do know that the entire “spire” will turn either red or blue once the winner has been declared. Sexy!

Most important follow-up question: will this move convince more viewers to pick CNN as their network of choice tonight and every night forevermore? We doubt it!

Is this the dumbest media stunt of the election? Probably not–but we hear that contest is gonna be a real nail-biter! If CNN really wants to come out on top, they should somehow force the loser to make his concession speech from the observation tower before parachuting to the street below. We might actually watch that.

Americans, Annoyed By Voting, Voice Outrage on Twitter

What, you thought we wouldn’t post any more election stories today? To all our readers who already voted: how annoying/rewarding was the whole process? Was it worth the “voter’s high”? Is that even a thing?

Reminder: We live in a democracy, and just as we have a right to vote we also have a right–nay, an obligation–to bitch about it! Or to celebrate it! We can’t seem to decide! Here, then, is a collection of fun/inspiring/informative/borderline offensive tweets from Americans who just can’t help but express their complex relationship with the act of voting.

How about some light humor?
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Mr. Burns Endorses Mitt Romney

Today in Yes, It’s Still Election Day News: we bring you another attempt to add some levity to the political process. While director Joss Whedon endorses Obama because “a vote for Romney is a vote for the zombie apocalypse”, Springfield’s most famous villainous rich guy, Montgomery Burns, sits firmly in the Mitt camp.

Like all things related to The Simpsons, this video isn’t quite as funny as it would have been in, say, 1996. Why? Well, the spot’s writers make their political sensibilities quite obvious throughout, and most of the jokes revolve around the election season’s big, worn-out memes. Enough with the Seamus story already! Still, we respect even half-hearted attempts to bring humor into the joyless world of politics.

Speaking of which, we haven’t seen many genuinely funny anti-Obama spots this year. Anybody?

Chrysler CEO Contradicts Romney Outsourcing Ad

We’re all a little obsessed with the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy right now, but our last post reminded us that there will be an election one week from today—and that its winner will be the nation’s next president.

The latest election-related PR news centers on Ohio, a land forever competing with Florida for “most important state in the nation” status. Here’s our (very quick) summary of the moment’s hottest topic:

The 2009 government bailout of the auto industry affected an estimated 1 in 8 Ohio natives’ jobs, and Mitt Romney understandably wants to convince these voters that President Obama didn’t help them out at all (and encourage them to forget that he wrote an op-ed arguing against government intervention on the auto industry’s behalf).

In an effort to turn the issue to its advantage, the Romney campaign created an ad playing off Chrysler/Fiat’s plans to begin manufacturing more of its iconic Jeeps in China, which happens to be the world’s fastest-growing automobile market.

The ad implies that these new overseas manufacturing operations will come at the expense of American jobs and vaguely pins responsibility for the supposed job loss on President Obama. The general response within Ohio has been swift and decisive—nearly every significant local paper (even those papers whose editors endorsed Mr. Romney) questioned the ad’s accuracy  this week. Some pundits now speculate that the campaign’s bold move could amount to a PR fail.

Today brought the most decisive statement on the issue to date:

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Do We Really ‘All Love Teachers?’ (No, We Don’t.)

When it comes to the 2012 presidential debates, we have to agree with Lindsay Lohan for the first and hopefully last time: we’re “so relieved that it’s over.”

Both candidates showed up to last night’s event armed with zingers and insults, but moderator Bob Schieffer may have scored the evening’s best line when he expressed his frustration with domestic policy squabbles by asserting that “I think we all love teachers.

Do we, though?

Ask a teacher whether the public truly appreciates the work they do and you might get a different answer. (Hint: the average American teacher’s job satisfaction level is lower today than at any point over the last 20 years.)

Based on recent events, we’d say the teaching profession has something of a PR problem—especially when its members form groups and dare to make (gasp!) collective demands. For example, The 44th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools found that, while a vast majority of Americans still say they have “trust and confidence” in the men and women who teach our children, we remain deeply divided on individual issues–and many of us think that teachers have too much power.

Based on the popularity of aggressive charter school advocates like Michelle Rhee and films like Waiting for Superman and Won’t Back Down that convey strong anti-union messages, we’d say Americans don’t love or trust public schoolteachers much at all.

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Post-Election: Where Will the Big PR Talent Land?

We’d like to take a moment to return to a great piece posted on Ad Age earlier this week about the post-election scramble for top PR talent in politics.

There’s no doubt that elections often attract the sharpest of the communications bunch. This may have something to do with the fact that campaigns—especially presidential campaigns—also draw from some of the country’s biggest bank accounts.

We’ll let MWW CEO Michael Kempner explain it:

“There’s no better training than a campaign. They’re working under pressure, unforgiving deadlines, speaking to diverse audiences and seeing the media impact with real consequences in every program they execute.”

This makes perfect sense. Who has better experience working with media outlets and personalities across the country (and the world) than the veterans of political campaigns? Of course they’re hot commodities.

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‘Binders Full of Women’ Is a Thing Now (Updated)

Well that didn’t take long, did it?

We’re not going to spend too much time analyzing or fact-checking last night’s debate; you’ll already read more than enough of that business today if you so much as glance at any news feed.

We’re more interested in the meme that emerged, with stunning speed, right before 10 last night–call it Big Bird 2.0 if you must (please don’t). Let’s put it this way: Well before the end of the Hofstra rumble, someone created the “Binders Full of Women” tumblr based on this well-meaning but poorly executed Mitt Romney quip:

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’” said Romney. “And they brought us whole binders full of women!”

This was Romney’s attempt to boost his standing among female voters by explaining the actions he took back in the day upon realizing that, when he was Governor of Massachusetts, his cabinet didn’t include many women. It was…awkward. Read more

JetBlue Will Help Angry Voters Leave the Country

In one of October’s catchiest PR stunts, JetBlue encourages voters frustrated with next month’s election results to follow their instincts and flee the country.

The discount airline has emerged as a survivor in the industry despite some PR problems like the Steven Slater emergency chute drama, the pilot “panic attack” incident, and the usual union debates.

The company’s new “Election Protection” campaign, created by the Mullen agency, makes light of an annoying habit that seems to arise right before every presidential election: celebrities and other passionate voters publicly announcing their plans to leave the country if their preferred candidate loses.

Curious customers can enter to win a free post-election trip out of the continental US by choosing their party alignment (what, no Rosanne?) and their ideal vacation destination in JetBlue’s poll.  Lest puzzled readers think JetBlue is undermining democracy with this stunt, all campaign spots repeatedly emphasize the importance of voting—a message sadly lost on the 40-50% of voting-age Americans who consistently fail to participate in nationwide elections.

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