Branding in Massachusetts Senatorial Race

Massachusetts is sizzling.  Tonight we’ll learn if the citizens of Massachusetts elect a Republican Senator for the first time since 1972. Either Martha Coakley, the Democratic State Attorney General or Scott Brown, a Republican state Senator will fill the two-year term left by the untimely death of Edward M. Kennedy Jr. (Teddy).

What’s interesting to me from a marketing communications stand point is how well Scott Brown has branded himself as the “people’s candidate”  in an extremely short period of time. He has referred to the Senate seat as the “people’s seat” not Ted Kennedy’s seat; and his campaign is using social media tactics full-tilt: Google ads; Facebook and Twitter – the tactics and campaign strategy that propelled President Barack Obama into office. So why didn’t the Democratic election play book get handed down? Coakley’s campaign has a social media presence, but just that – a weak presence. It  appears that Coakley didn’t see Brown’s energized campaign hitting the streets as his ratings lit up the polls until this past weekend.  Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama made weekend visits to Massachusetts to encourage Independents and Democrats to get out the vote. Coakley did make several missteps including identifying beloved Boston Red Sox pitcher and blogger Curt Schilling as a “Yankee fan” (that’s nuclear); and not getting out to the people and campaigning in the trenches early and hard enough.  There are more registered Independents in Massachusetts than there are Democrats or Republicans.  There is nothing like good political theater especially in Massachusetts where politics is a spectator sport.   There’s major drama going on in Massachusetts today where the weather is clear; the people are angry and motivated; and the Democrats 60-vote majority in the Senate is at stake.  Bravo Massachusetts.  We’re all watching and waiting.

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