Here at Peppercom, we try not to get too political about anything. Everyone is free to be true to him/herself and express support on important issues like who will win American Idol, the color of next season’s PepperKickers t-shirts and where to go to lunch. However, it’s hard not to catch even a mild campaign fever as we all countdown to November 6. The conventions! The debates! The outfits! Okay, maybe just kidding about that last one. But I digress…
I’m not shocking anyone when stating that a heck of a lot of marketing and PR go into developing the ultimate presidential campaign. Now, with social media and the 24/7 news cycle, the job is even more complex. What I love about the 2012 presidential race is constant comparison of each candidate’s appeal to the people. It’s hard to dispute that this is what won President Obama the Oval Office in 2008. So now we watch as Mitt Romney scrambles to catch up. I came across a Romney campaign initiative called “Grab A Bite With Mitt” in which supporters can enter to win a meal with Mitt and his wife, Ann. Supporters are automatically entered to win after making a donation. Talk about the definition of experiential marketing: bringing your product to the people and – literally – serving it up on a silver platter (or, perhaps, on a plastic plate at a local diner).
There are three key elements about this program that I not only really like – but can also translate to other marketing campaigns.
1. Low Barrier to Entry: to enter, all you need to do is fill out a simple online entry form and donate $3. Given that one of Romney’s key issues is jobs/economic growth, it’s smart to not require a large donation amount.
2. Facing Criticism: Romney’s charisma and personability have been the thorns in his White House Rose Garden since he started running for president since 2006 (and lost the nomination to McCain). Through these meals, he’s sending a message that says “Hey, I hear what critics and pundits are saying and I want to change the perception.”
3. Touting Your Assets: Ann Romney has slowly, but surely, begun to win some fans. Since launching her Twitter handle in mid-April she has gained just over 45,000 followers and has spent more time in the spotlight. By offering a meal with the Romney’s as a couple, they are also appealing to the conservative voters who cherish traditional family values – and whose votes Romney needs.
I’ll be curious to see what media coverage transpires as a result of these events. Will reporters eat it up – or will Romney choke?