Marketing political soap: a political marketing view of selling candidates like soap, of electioneering as a ritual, and of electoral military analogies

Authors

  • Alex Marland

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    1. Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK
    • Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK
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    • Alex Marlandis completing a PhD with the Department of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster University. He is preparing a dissertation on marketing in the 2000 Canadian general election, with an emphasis on constituency-level electioneering. Alex is also an instructor with the Department of Political Science at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Previously he managed research projects ranging from airline branding to government tobacco policy with organisations in Ottawa and St John's.


Abstract

This paper examines three common political expressions and ideas from a marketing perspective. First, the origins of the ‘selling candidates like soap’ expression are traced and it is argued that, rather than being ‘sold’ like a product, candidates are instead ‘marketed’ like a service provider such as a real estate agent. Traditional campaign rituals have a legitimate marketing function if electors, and not just political actors, are meaningfully incorporated and military analogies in elections have increasing relevance given the classic military strategy used by commercial marketers. Together, these examples suggest that the application of marketing to politics may require the rethinking of ingrained electoral jargon and concepts. Copyright © 2003 Henry Stewart Publications

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