Branding the New Deal, part of our series on Symbols, Branding and Persuasion begins with an exploration of branding in the context of electoral and legislative politics. The presentation (part1) starts with media theorist Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Reimagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and the forthcoming Branding the New Deal. Afterward (part2) Jessica Teal, design manager for the Obama 2008 presidential campaign joins Duncombe for a conversation via video skype.
Like it or not, propaganda and mass persuasion are part of modern democratic politics. Many progressives today have an adverse reaction to propaganda: ours is a politics based in reason and rationality, not symbols and fantasy. Given our last administration's fondness for selling fantasies as reality, this aversion to branding, marketing and propaganda is understandable. But it is also naive. Mass persuasion is a necessary part of democratic politics, the real issue is what ethics it embodies and which values it expresses.
Looking critically at how the Roosevelt Administration tried to "brand" the New Deal and how the Obama campaign leveraged principles of marketing and advertising gives us an opportunity to think about different models of political persuasion.