Have You Ever Wondered How Political Marketing Works?


Lest you think that politics is all about principled debate and right against wrong, think again.  Did you know that political parties market their candidates just like toothpaste?

I never thought much about how political parties and campaigns were like beverage salesmen or auto manufacturers unlike I met an amazing young man (at least from the perspective of my age) courtesy of my daughter.  Let me introduce you to Neil Bendle:


Neil is an assistant professor of marketing at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. He has a PhD from  the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, an MBA at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia and ancient history studies in England at Liverpool and Nottingham universities. He is also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. His academic areas of interest are decision making, competitors,  and the dynamics of competition.

He brings a unique perspective to political marketing having served as the finance director of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom during part of Tony Blair’s administration.

I first took note of how Neil weaves decision making and marketing into the political process during the run up to the 2008 presidential election.  During the primaries, we would discuss the various candidates and their strengths and weaknesses.   Neil suggested that I should pay particular attention to how certain candidates behaved as their candidacy ebbed and flowed.

For example, if a candidate is perceived to be the front runner, his/her campaign strategy will be to attack the other party rather than opposing candidates in the primary.  Candidates who are not in front will attack the perceived front runner or other candidates whom they think are ahead of them in the polls rather than the other party.  Their postures flip as the polls indicated their relative status.  I am, however, simplifying a far more nuanced analysis.

As I watched that campaign season and subsequent ones unfold, Neil’s theories proved to be dead-on.  What Neil was doing was applying his theories of decision making and competitor analysis to the political process.  The candidate as dog food.

Earlier this year, Neil approached me with an idea.  He wanted to put together a fun booklet that discussed serious marketing concepts.  He envisioned a short book that looked at marketing economics and decision making from the perspective of toddlers.  He asked me to illustrate the book and the product is:


Neil also regularly writes about other aspects of marketing on his blog: Marketing Thought.  You should check it out.

His latest blog post is about “Surviving Paranoia.

Final note, Neil is also the father of two of the greatest granddaughters that any cartoonist could ever want.

Do Not Buy This Book

Do not buy this book as a Holiday present if either you or the intended recipient still persist in the belief that one tiny elf can circumnavigate the entire globe distributing gifts to almost two billion children in the span of one evening using only carbon-based organisms for propulsion.

This investigative cartoon book lays bare the dark underbelly of Santa Inc.  See for yourself how this megabillion-dollar enterprise became wracked by greed, intrigue, pathos, and lassitude.

Just why is he so jolly all the time?

One of the major unanswered mysteries is exactly where Santa Inc. gets its funding.  The purchase of all this commercial merchandise is not reindeer feed, you know.  As we know reindeer feed, itself, can be very expensive especially with the Midwestern drought that has affected so much of the United States.

As we found out almost four decades ago: Follow the Money!

Just take a look at the sordid details on this supposed cartoon book HERE.

Don’t buy it, unless you are compelled to offer it up as a Holiday gift to some unsuspecting soul.  Perhaps, a person for whom you wish to completely destroy the meaning of Christmas.

Besides, if you have a Kindle or a Kindle APP, you can get the cartoons from this book along with over one hundred and forty other similarly warped cartoons for only $3.99, HERE.

Just be careful that you do not fall into this web of darkness or you may find your web browser acting as if it were a sentient being as it scrolls over to buy Grumpy Santa gifts HERE.

You have been warned.

If, on the other hand, you are willing to wait patiently for free cartoons on my website, I will be posting them from time to time, but it might take a little bit longer as you wait to see them posted and I am not getting any younger.

And Now, A Comedic Break

The following is a video that I made for the launch of the New York Times experimental ultra-local newspaper, aptly called, “The Local.”  The annoying background music was created by yours truly using an internet music generator.  The cartoons are early (circa 2007-2009).  Hope you enjoy the video.


Notice To Fans Of “There Is Strangeness In The Universe” Cartoons

In preparation for an advertising campaign to market my cartoon collection, Scenes of Strangeness, I have put sales of the two earlier series. There is Strangeness in the Universe and Happy Holidaze and Other Tragedies of Life, on the back burner.  I am doing this so that no one will get confused and purchase the two earlier collections which are included in my 250+ cartoon collection: Scenes of Strangeness.  To date over 6,800 readers have downloaded Scenes of Strangeness.

I hope that fans of my cartoons will consider adding Scenes of Strangeness to their Kindle collection.  Don’t forget, if you do not have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle App for your computer, iPad, Tablet, laptop, or even cellphone here.

Scenes of Strangeness