07/16/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Logo War: McCain Makes Me Feel Like A Schoolgirl In All The Wrong Ways

Anyone who grew up in public school should immediately shudder at the sight of the McCain logo. It's an uncanny rip off of the old Thomson-Peterson's textbook logo.


Remember when you had to build the diorama of Jamestown for your 6th grade history project? Your hands all bloodied from flipping through those musty pages? Your fingers sticky from the impotent glue stick?


That's exactly what the McCain candidacy has been like: a static diorama -- rigid and lifeless with a morbid romanticism for the past.

His ill-timed jokes and P.E. coach demeanor make every press conference feel like a conscripted school assembly session. All he needs do is address us as "youngsters" and I swear the next four years will be like one long after-school detention. I don't think I need to draw out this metaphor any further: McCain is a papercut-inducing textbook of suck.

Thankfully, the Obama campaign took a different tack.

It has the feel of a corporation that has branded itself as friendly, light, and accessible. Like Apple, Bank of America or Wal-Mart, Obama's campaign is a sprawling, top-down institution that wants to give off a safe, open, user-friendly vibe. The design team has done a superior job in shaping the Barack Obama brand. Right now, no other candidate has a genuine brand-logo. Looking over candidate logos, even going back twenty years, I can't find a single other instance where you can remove the candidate's face and name and still know who the logo represents.

Every politician understands that he or she is associated with some set of values, but Obama might be the first candidate to successfully market himself more as a brand than just as a name and a list of ideals. A strong brand has a unity and consistency of approach. You expect the "Apple Experience" throughout your Apple experience, from the store to the website, from the packaging to the computer or the iPod itself. The corporation's living up to brand expectation keeps people coming back for more, and it's what turns a customer -- or a voter -- into an evangelist. Whether that's progress toward what people identify with or just a more effective marketing technique is up for grabs, but I still think it's a blast of fresh air.

* to see more on the success of the Obama brand go here.