Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WTF has happened to Obama the great communicator - and how the Democrats need a major overhaul of their messaging strategy

What has happened to Obama the great communicator and how the Democrats need an overhaul of their messaging strategy (in my opinion).

I'm shocked and saddened to say that I'm starting to give up with Obama - at least on his skills as a communicator and his ability to control the democratic message.

The dems seems to have a total inability to band effectively together, pick a few (only a few) winning talking points, stick to them and ruthlessly out the republicans on their nonsense.

The republicans are far superior at this and (with some exceptions from the teabaggers)  all sing off the same simple clear song sheet - smaller government, lower taxes, cut spending and strong on national security. They are also incredibly good at framing issues with language (read "don't think about an elephant" for the full story - great book by george lakoff) - pro-life/pro-choice, bush tax cuts, Obamacare, war on terror etc. 

The dems are all over the place on messaging and they are terribly divided - they need the old advertising lesson of throwing six tennis balls at someone vs. One...

As an interested viewer of the appallingly partisan state of affairs right now it seems obvious that the dems have a bunch of really clear strong points that are not getting through to the gen pub - unless they scour the political media and analyze it in great detail.

1.  Republicans don't care about poor people - while lobbying hard for continuing George bush's pro-millionaire tax cuts this week they voted down a bill for continuing unemployment benefits for struggling Americans. WTF? 

2.  Obama saved the American car industry and with it 1.3m jobs - GMs float on the stock exchange this week was the biggest in history (bigger than google). Right now all the big us car companies are back in profit for the first time since 2005. He took a tough decision that the party of NO mocked and it worked and yet they are still criticizing him for it. Why? And when are we going to out them on it?

3.  The republicans are using national security as a political tool and it's putting the American people in real danger. The party who started an illegal war, water tortured, wiretapped and extraordinarily renditioned while in power is screaming constitutional over reach (reach around?) over the TSA's new scanner/pat down procedures. Ridiculous hypocrisy. 100,000 troops are putting their life on the line every day, its time for the 99% of the population for whom they are sacrificing to do their part - in this case a slightly uncomfortable frisking only for those who refuse the scan. Surely a small price to pay and a welcome spirit of "everybody has a part to play" that has been forgotten. 

The republicans are also blocking the signing of the Start treaty against the advice of the chairman of the joint chiefs and other military leadership? Why? It's just politics and a chance to skewer Obama at the expense of American security.

4.  The republican party's intransigence and partisanship is holding back the confidence of the American people to pull out of this recession in the way the business community has - and the public needs to know this. 

The business community in the US has pulled steeply out of the recession in a way that ordinary people have not - 5 straight quarters of economic growth, corporate profits were the highest on record last quarter since the govt began recording in 1950 and corporate profits as a % of US economic growth over the last 3 decades are at nearly the highest point they've ever been today - up from the lowest point when when Obama took over. 

The constant sniping, criticism, blame gaming and painting of gloomy pictures can only leave the American public unsure, worried, cautious and unlikely to start spending, investing or employing. All of this politics is not harming business, it's not harming the republicans but it sure is harming the country's morale. 

At a time when the country needs to pull together and gee itself up, shame on the politicians who do the opposite for their own political gain.

5.  The deficit and W's tax cuts - the dems need to do much better job on this one. The right have succeeded in every occasion (normally unchallenged) in painting Obamas plans to let the tax cuts run out as "an Obama tax increase". This is rewriting history. I don't exactly remember the details, but I believe the only way W could get these tax cuts (in good economic times) through the congress was to agree to a term limit for them. So, this isn't Obama increasing taxes, this is the End of a policy written by bush and agreed by bush and supported by the republicans. The fact that Obama is willing to extend them for the middle class is a good thing. If it were me, 

I wouldn't extend them at all because then they are simply an extension of bush's policies. How about a brand new Obama tax cut beginning Jan 1? Reframe it like that and republicans would be fighting to increase the Obama tax cuts rather than extend the bush tax cuts. . . .

Grow some balls democrats, stop in fighting, learn to take and control the message and for christ sake read George lakoff's book about framing issues and stop letting the republicans run the communications board.

Happy thanksgiving and let's hope the witch of wassilla runs in 2012 - for all our sakes...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's not a fad

Ahead of the curve, disrupting, resisting the usual. All of these are what we talk about in our industry as rules to live by. And yet we rarely do. Nice to see a big serious (and likely stodgy) company such as the FT embrace new things. The FT is subsidizing iPad purchases for all it's staff and giving masterclass lessons to get people up to speed on this important new platform - which is, after all, what it is.

Who will be the first agency to do this? I bought an iPad very early on for my former agency and struggled to get it through the 'resist the usual' finance Dept. I guess it's resist the usual, to a point...

Click below for the story

There speaks a client who knows his business

"We have 100% awareness, we have been in all the big wars, what we have is a perception problem"
Bruce Jasurda, CMO of the US Army.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Churchill on Lawrence of Arabia....

I know a few people for whom I could say the same...

Bloomberg for president....

Mayor Bloomberg has a wonderful ability for telling things as they are, not as the press/politicians would have them be - I guess that's what comes of being worth $20bn. This is an interesting article concerning his comments about China in a recent trip to Hong Kong. His basic line is that America needs to stop blaming China for its troubles. He also has some harsh, but fair, words for some of Congress's recent recruits...

Bloomberg to America - lay off China
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on a visit to Hong Kong and the neighboring city of Shenzhen, had some harsh criticism for his own fellow Americans: Stop blaming the Chinese for their problems.

As the debate rages over China’s trade and currencies policies, the 68-year-old Bloomberg, now in his third term as mayor of New York, was tough on China’s critics in the U.S. He spoke to reporters Saturday in Hong Kong after addressing a meeting of leaders from top cities around the world, dubbed the C40, focused on climate change and environment.
“I think in America, we’ve got to stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else and take a look at ourselves,” he said.

A day earlier, Mr. Bloomberg visited several businesses (incluing a solar panel maker) in Shenzhen, a manufacturing hub that borders Hong Kong.

China’s big push into solar and other environmentally friendly energy technologies has begun to attract negative attention. Last month, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it would investigate China’s policies over complaints that the country was using tactics that violated its World Trade Organization commitments to shut other countries out of the burgeoning market for clean energy.

Mr. Bloomberg attacked the notion that using Chinese-made technology to promote green energy in the U.S. was politically objectionable. “Let me get this straight: There’s a country on the other side of the world that is taking their taxpayers’ dollars, and trying to sell subsidized things so we can buy them cheaper, and have better products, and we’re going to criticize that?”

Earlier, in an interview, the mayor was deeply, undiplomatically critical of provincialism and populism in U.S. Congress.

“If you look at the U.S., you look at who we’re electing to Congress, to the Senate—they can’t read,” he said. “I’ll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports. We’re about to start a trade war with China if we’re not careful here,” he warned, “only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is.”

The mayor said his biggest impression from meeting his mayoral counterparts from China (the C40 includes about a half dozen heads of major cities in China) was their focus on environmental issues.

In the past, he said, “they have focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, economic development at all costs. Now all of a sudden they are realizing their rivers are becoming undrinkable, their air is killing people.”

China’s growing concern for the environment was good for Hong Kong, he noted, given how much of the city’s pollution problem wafts in across its border with the rest of the country. He recalled many years ago renting a helicopter (he’s a certified pilot) and flying it into the city’s mountainous New Territories district, only to get lost in the pollution.
“At one point I had to go down almost to tree level to figure out where I was, just to get out.”
Bloomberg, whose past business experience frequently took him to Asia, spoke highly of prospects for Hong Kong, where the stock exchange has dominated the global market for initial public offerings for a second year.

“The future of Hong Kong as a financial center is not going to be challenged by anybody else in Asia,” he said. Going in its favor were widespread use of English; a family-friendly, low-crime environment that attracts workers; and ease of commuting.

“The only other city that has the potential of doing that, of course, is Singapore,” he added, but not Tokyo. “I love Tokyo, but unless you speak Japanese, you can’t survive.”

An incredibly odd decision to make in 2010

First of all, I've nothing against FCB, I don't really know many FCBers (Rob Sherlock is a great guy), I don't know Mark Pacchini and I don't know Anil Kapoor - I'm sure they're all fine folks.  However, this announcement concerning the appointment of a new head of FCB Asia is astonishing to me.

First, how, in this day and age, can you run an Asian operation of a big network out of Chicago? And second, how do you get away with a supporting comment like "Mark has an extensive knowledge of the APAC region having travelled there frequently over the last 17yrs"? I'd rather just say nothing and let people presume you'd lived there at some point or another. To me this is a press release/announcement that didn't need to be made - at least not in the press!!!

Anyhow, best of luck. It's hard enough getting clients in China to take you seriously if you are based in Central HK, let alone Grosse Point.

Monday, November 1, 2010

FIFA - Football's very own 'Big-Government' problem

A nice piece on the FIFA's monopoly on the World Cup and assorted scandals that it’s currently facing.

FIFA is a Geneva based non-profit organization that had 2009 revenues of $1.06 billion and profits of $196 million.

"While equity of over a billion dollars seems high, it is necessary as the financial risks exceed it many times over," Franco Carraro, chairman of the internal audit committee, told delegates. "The figure is only enough to cover the next year and a half."

I bet there's a lot of not for profit organizations that might consider $1bn surplus to be more than enough for more than 18 months - especially if they owned such a lucrative franchise....