Which Party Did a Better Job Making An Impression?

Last Updated Sep 5, 2008 7:17 PM EDT

The two political conventions are over, thank goodness, so now we can start the truly silly season of the presidential election process.

Today's insight from the conventions is about making a quick impression with sound and visuals. In my opinion, with the exception of Obama's acceptance at Invesco Field, the Republicans did a better overall job using visuals and music to quickly communicate their message than the Democrats did.

Watching the Democrats, I was immediately dumbstruck by their use of a solid blue background with the initials "DNC" on it. What the hell does that mean? Obviously, DNC standings for Democratic National Committee or Convention, but who cares? Didn't anyone tell the Democrats that TV had been invented and that their backdrop would be the second most viewed element of their broadcasts, after the speakers themselves?


I don't remember any of the piped-in music from the Dem's convention but I recall that it was OK, better than 2004. What I noticed was that a convention that was attended by a diverse group of delegates whiffed on the opportunity to present more interesting multicultural images and sounds to the nation, sticking instead to a 50s-style parade of white men and women in sharp suits making mostly boring speeches. Maybe it was all a clever ploy to make Obama's speech seem even better than it was, but I doubt it.

[A note about impressions: this post is not intended to be a thorough rundown of all the elements of each convention. I watched a fair amount of convention coverage but not nearly all of it. I'm coming at this from the perspective of "impressions" -- what casual viewers who were not paying full attention might have taken away.]

On the other hand, I thought the Republicans did a much better job using sound and visuals to make a good impression, with catchy country songs and patriotic background images behind the speakers. I liked the images of each state flashing in the background as they did their roll call [I don't know if the Dems did the same].

I thought it was cool that they played the Heart song "Barracuda" after McCain's speech when he was making the rounds on stage with Sarah ("Barracuda") Palin. [Heart didn't appreciate it, though -- they've already fired off a "cease and desist" letter.]

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

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