Candidates try to set themselves apart with political marketing

Erica Mina Okada
Erica Mina Okada
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Neil Abercrombie
Neil Abercrombie

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With three days until the election candidates are trying to set themselves apart from opponents but it's sometimes easier said than done.

Candidates have spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads marketing themselves just like a business.

"Politicians have to try to get as many votes as possible, companies have to get as many dollars as possible and how do you do that if you only have one product?" said Erica Mina Okada, PhD, Marketing Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The trick is trying to be different.  For the most part candidates believe in the same things, jobs and education are good, crime is bad.  So where they stand apart is in their persona.

"That's why people will bring their families into their campaigns to seem more likeable," said Prof. Okada.

So is it working?

"Well I think they're all doing a pretty similar job," said Prof. Okada.

She also says there's a reason why campaigns have gone negative.

"Consumers, voters, people in general respond more to negative things than positive things and I think that's just the way we evolved," said Prof. Okada.

To counter the negative candidates literally change their tone and start speaking softly.

"Everybody likes listeners not yellers so everybody talks kind of soft," said Okada.

And expect to see a blitz on air and online trying to maximize each second until Saturday.  To illustrate the point in the 6:00 newscast alone there were nine political ads in just three commercial breaks.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.