Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Politics as Product

Article first published as Politics as Product on Technorati.

Never has there been such a splendid example that we as a society are severely afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder.  This flavor of ADD  is far from the inattentive child nervously fidgeting in his classroom, however.  

No, this is an affliction of the first world dominated by the churn of  consumerism.   It expresses itself in everything from fad to fashion and increasingly to critical thinking as well.

We in the first world have become so conditioned to reacting to a marketing message that we require no further information to make a decision.  We make the choice based on the promotion we most easily identify with.  No further deliberation is entertained. 

We've come to expect all of our information to be packaged in this way.  Politics enjoy no immunity.
Our impatience is reflected in the flood of campaign ads that have plagued our airwaves for the past year.  Probably the most obvious example is the current U.S. presidential race.  To date, both candidates for president have raised over 2 Billion dollars for their campaigns with approximately 1.5 billion of that spent thus far. 

Half truths, errors of omission and inflated context are the tools of political persuasion and they easily translate to the world of marketing.  Politics promotes the image by obscuring the product. 

We choose our leaders with less care than our favorite sports team.  That's by design and the reason why political positions are largely parroted from political propaganda.  Politicians know voters have a low tolerance for long-winded technical arguments.  Instead they choose a popular position with their base and relentlessly repeat the same message regardless of its veracity.

Remember the Go-Daddy commercials?  In 30 seconds we knew who they were but only because we were constantly exposed to scantily clad models that appealed to a core demographic.   How many of us tried them based on a subconscious reaction to those ads instead of their reputation?

It works just as well for politics as it does for web hosting.   Think about where you get your political news.  Is it C-Span or are you more interested in the packaged offerings of Fox News or MSNBC?

Let's look at a current hot button political issue as an example...

Is it really the fault of a sitting president that the worst economic downturn since the depression of 1929 is still affecting the economy?

It is if you ignore the boring technical argument that it took a decade and a world war to bring the U.S. out of the great depression.   

Unfortunately, our short attention spans won't allow the retort.  We crave instant gratification and sway toward the product that promises it.  Ironically, If challenged we frequently justify our position based on that same marketing construct.  It's circular logic which dovetails nicely with our distaste for depth.

Perhaps it's time to examine how informed we really are.