Gordon Campbell has an interesting take on the political PR we’re seeing from National in his latest Scoop column. In it he quotes Salon talking about the marketing of Red Bull to different niches:
‘ Walker noted that instead of attempting to assert the brand’s identity to a mass market, the manufacturer pursued a strategy of what he calls ‘murketing,’ sponsoring low-key events geared to distinct niches; ask any of these groups what Red Bull is and you’re likely to hear a different answer. By refusing to define Red Bull, advertisers allowed each slice of its overall market to interpret the beverage for itself.”
Instead of Red Bull, think in our country, about John Key. Similarly, National has not marketed its policies or its leader in a direct fashion to the voting public. Key has instead been encouraged to address his message to niche audiences who have carried the debate forwards, by adding spin according to their own aspirations. By ‘murketing’ Key in this value-added way rather than by marketing him, National has been able to turn the ‘Who Is John Key, Really?’ question to its advantage, by allowing all kinds of different people to project onto him their own desires and blueprint for change. The blurrier the Key template the better. In this process, even the criticism helps by making Key’s identity the focal point, and crowding out policy.
While this might be a good way to market a soft drink, I do wonder how Brand Key will be able to reconcile its multiple identities when it is exposed to all of its niche markets at once. Say, for example, in a leaders’ debate.