Content is king - and not just for brands

Brands of all shapes have embraced content creation full throttle. But it's old hat for political campaigns.

If I had a dollar for every time a brand rolled out a new content creation initiative, let’s just say I wouldn’t feel guilty about paying for the NFL RedZone network.

In all seriousness, it’s time to stop referring to content creation as a trend; it’s now practically a marketing discipline in its own right. Content is also an area where there’s significant overlap between the consumer marketing and political sectors.

The latest "brand" as case and point is Jeb Bush. Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting the former Florida governor, told The New York Times this week that it has created a 15-minute documentary on his life and career.

Of course, Bush will need much more than a documentary to make up lost ground in the GOP race, but the short film is another example of an organization producing its own content to sell its "product" to the public. And while maybe it doesn’t have the spending power of Coca-Cola, Bush’s campaign is still better financially supported than many of his rivals.  

Bush’s team is not the first to take this route. The Obama White House has embraced digital content production, along with other new social and media-relations techniques, more than its predecessors. Obama’s 2008 campaign also ran a 30-minute infomercial in the days before he was elected president.

And the ups and downs of Mitt Romney’s 2012 run, including the candidate and his family stunned and heartbroken as they watched the results come in, shined a very different light on him than had been seen throughout much of the race. It’s part of the reason why some Republicans, getting shivers from a possible Trump nomination, are clamoring for the former Massachusetts governor to join the fray.

The documentary on Bush won’t be a silver bullet for the malaise holding down his campaign. But it is another example of the overlapping set of tactics shared by campaign politics and consumer marketing. Look for more to come in the next 11 months.

Frank Washkuch is news editor of PRWeek.  

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