Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Suppress the vote (2)

Or how Harper and the "StealthCons are like a Big Mac. (N.B.: there is a bonus bit of trivia in the midst of the post as an award for reading the whole thing)

As you may have read I have been expanding on a hunch that the Conservative campaign was designed to suppress the vote as much as possible and ride their base to a majority. They did this in the realization that their policies and principles could not stand up to any kind of scrutiny. In this post I will outline what they did to negate the animus towards Harper that they knew two thirds of Canadians posses.

Back in the seventies, I read something in an advertising journal that was so interesting it stayed with me. Unfortunately I have not been able to find the actual reference so I will have to reconstruct this from memory. It goes like this.

McDonald's noticed that there were a lot of pickles in their parking lots. This was a major concern since the main draw of their product was convenience and the neutral taste. Not neutral in that the food is bland. Rather that it is hard to describe. Think about it. If you eat a Big Mac you can say to yourself: "Yep, that's a Big Mac." But try to describe the taste. It doesn't have a distinctive taste. This made it the lowest common denominator when groups are deciding where to go. The entire goal was to make the flavour so innocuous that you can't strongly object to it. You might be aware of how bad Big Macs are for you. You might have read "Fast Food Nation". You might have seen "Super Size Me". But you are out and about and you need to eat and the kids want a Happy Meal.

So seeing that a significant proportion of their customers were taking the time to open up the box and dig out the pickle meant that the taste of the pickles was both off-putting and creating an inconvenience. This divergence from taste neutrality and convenience might encourage people to go somewhere other than McDonald's. But the pickle, so to speak, that McDonald's was in was that they could not take out the pickle since that would ruin the slogan. (Go ahead. Say it to yourself. You know you want to.)

So the answer wasn't to take the pickle out. The answer was to develop a pickle wasn't recognizable as a pickle. They spent years trying to accomplish this. To the best of my knowledge they never succeeded.

Bonus triva: The chairs are designed to be uncomfortable after ~30 minutes to discourage you from sitting in them.

So what does this have to do with Mr. Ordinary's campaign? The Blue Sweater Vest ads. The Thanksgiving message. I don't think for a moment that they were an attempt to bring people over to vote for him. They were meant to neutralize the acidic taste he leaves in most peoples mouths. They were meant to anaesthatise the marginal Liberal voters and keep them home. Turn them off of Dion enough that they are wavering. Fool them that Harper isn't the screaming blue meanie that everyone knows he is to be. Just long enough to get through the election. Hide the StealthCons. Keep Ritz hidden. Try to get through the campaign with out a platform. Cloister Harper over the last few days after the CTV hatchet job was done. Don't let the people taste the Conservative pickle in the burger.Recommend this Post

1 comment:

Deb Prothero said...

I don't think I will ever forget pickles now. What a clever story.