Monday, January 31, 2005

Language DOES Matter

L-Hack and I had a debate the other night stemming from George Lakoff's book, "Moral Politics".

Look very closely at the language uesd by the Club for Growth and the Cato Institute when talking about Social Security Privatization. They make very clear their positions on "choice", whether it's "Social Security Choice", or the "Project on Social Security Choice" in the case of the Cato Institute.

Who's against choice, right? I can think of a "choice" most Republicans are against, but we'll discuss that later...

One more thing, when you read the Cato debunking of the AARP for age-skewing, keep in mind, the Cato/Zogby poll is income-skewed to the high-end anywhere between 5-9%. Keep in mind, Zogby's pre-election poll also predicted John Kerry would be elected President, and we all know how that turned out...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point was that you "left elites" think your 25 year decline is due to American public stupidity and power will be reclaimed with a few more buzz words. Like calling gun control legislation "gun saftey"

11:32 AM  
Blogger Outlier said...

Marketing is more important than the message.

When messages aren't effectively marketed, you get "I voted for it before I voted against it". I know what he's talking about after I read the 700 word explanation and I understand there were different bills, but when you explain it like that - Who could figure out what the hell was he talking about?

Hollywood sells crappy movies, networks sell crappy TV all the time. If marketing doesn't work, how did Britney Spears, a marginally talented performer, ever become a star? The product sucks, but the marketing is top-notch. It has nothing to with smart or stupid either - everyone succumbs to it, everyone is vulnerable in some way - if they weren't, why do people spend so much money for Super Bowl ad time?

People don't choose make voting decisions based on reasoned logic or economic self-interest - it's visceral, there's a sociological component to it that language and images trigger.

How do you trigger a reaction, how do you sell the product? These are important things that the Democratic party has to learn.

For example, Republicans have claimed to be the party of small government for 25 years, but all empirical evidence refutes that claim. It's not a distortion, it's a flat-out lie. The government never spent more money or had more employees at any time than under Ronald Reagan. Democrats get labeled as the party of large government - yet the government payroll dropped more under Clinton than at any time in the last 50 years. Why do these images exist in the face of contrary evidence - marketing!!!

Republicans claim to be the party of "States' Rights", but what is "No Child Left Behind" - a national program that usurps the authority of state and local governments to assess and manage schools. Democrats - the party of national governance, instituted a welfare reform program that placed more responsibility on states to manage their own programs. In the face of contrary evidence, the image remains - why?


1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marketing for Britney Spears, movies, and sports is geared for children and teenagers. Adults are smarter than you think.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Outlier said...

OK, you don't like my other examples. Would you prefer Cialis or Viagra? How about automobiles, like the Toyota campaign talking about cars being built in the U.S.? How about Wal-Mart ads with moms talking about saving so much time by shopping at Wal-Mart. How about, beer commercials, commercials for Vegas tourism, etc...There's tons of stuff that is marketed directly to adults and face it, it works. People spend a fortune on it, they study it, they test it - marketing works. If you deny it, you're being naive.

It's not a question about being smart - we're all vulnerable to marketing and if you think you aren't, that's how they get you. "You're an informed consumer who knows what he wants..."

Dell has lots of ads that talk about their great products and service - you know what, they are great computers and they have great service. It's not a distortion, but their marketing has a lot to do with their market share.

On the other hand, you have AOL, a company who's time has passed, but somehow, people still subscribe. It's the marketing blitz.

2:43 PM  

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