The TV Branding Of New Political And Social Movements: Something Doesn't Work
New political or social movements have brand names that pull in some emotional value on TV. But what about specifics? That's elusive -- and probably should stay that way for short-term or mid-term success.
The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has gained a lot of TV exposure. As usual, it comes from news coverage and virtually no paid messaging (though the movement now has some nice retro-looking, movie-like key art).
Many disagree about comparisons with a recent and earlier popular movement: the Tea Party, which is more structured, perhaps with bigger coffers of money and a more specific agenda.
Both come to the TV screen not necessarily with all the answers -- and, perhaps more importantly, not with designated leaders. In some way, that's how to build a political or social brand on television: offer more emotional connections and let supporters build in their hopes, dreams and icons. That makes sense, since such recent movements attempt to deviate from the structural hierarchy that comes with older institutions -- Democrat, Republican or otherwise.
"Occupy" has a sub-brand, "99%" -- the reference to U.S. citizens who aren't part of the super rich. Some people say this sub-brand also means "Anti-Business." Some say the Tea Party's sub-brand is "Anti-Government.".
Still, such designations aren’t always clear. One Tea Party bigwig, Mark Meckler, said on Fox News Wednesday, that party proponents "love the system of government." Hmm... not exactly. No doubt Occupiers have conflicts as well.
The media focus has shown the fringes: not all Occupiers are airhead hippies; not all Tea Partiers are conservative, self-absorbed witless snobs.
Still, you can come to some obvious, easily digestible conclusions from the TV exposure. Fox News' Neil Cavuto says one thing comes across from virtually all media coverage for sure: both Tea Party and Occupy supporters are pissed off. Brand messaging takeaway: The government system, in its current form, doesn't work.