cEvery four years, the presidential election dominates the news cycle. It pulls in a massive amount of air time on the news and completely takes over the imaginations of most everyone in America. For businesses, that incredible amount of coverage can pull in and cause a whole swath of opportunities to boost their brand.ockta

Any high profile event can be used to raise awareness about your company, but something as massive as the election takes it all to another level. One key to success for many business is to do an original spin on it rather than to try take sides in what are almost always divisive choices. Though we’re not going to discount those that are able to make taking sides really work.

Check out these compelling and sometimes surprising businesses that are booting themselves this election cycle.

For nearly 20 years, Comedy Central has found its place in the public consciousness during the presidential election. The boost that the station harnesses for its brand was instrumental in launching the careers of John Oliver, Jon Stewart, and of course Stephen Colbert.

Trevor Noah has taken on the mantle today for the network as the host of the Daily Show, and his biting and often insightful comedy is viral gold. Comedians are having the BEST ELECTION YEAR EVER. Election season brings a relevance to Comedy Central that has proved to be not only brand boosting, but even powerful and influential.

Since the 70’s, SNL has used the presidential election as a launching pad for its brand. In many ways, Saturday Night Live and mastermind Lorne Michaels center the show around the election. Take this year, when the show actually timed its premiere to be just after the first presidential debate so that it could riff off the event. In fact, SNL’s schedule this fall was completely based on the election cycle, with no weekends off until after November 8th.
The power that this brand has built is so tremendous when it comes to elections that there has been some speculation among pundits that SNL could actually affect the outcome if it hit the right notes. That remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that election season offers a massive boon for SNL, making superstars out of its cast.

  • The Cocktail Party – NO ONE wants to be sober for this!
    Offering a wide variety of merchandise based solely on its brand experience, The Cocktail Party gives buyers a different political option during this heated presidential election. The whole idea is that disaffected voters can opt out of the two major political parties and instead just join The Cocktail Party.

In an election season that has proved to be the nastiest in American history, the company definitely has a compelling argument.

  • House of Cards – #FU2016
    Frank Underwood is the president that we all need, or so his fictional campaign would have you think. During this election year, Netflix has taken the opportunity to push forward one of its flagship shows by actually getting on the campaign trail.In South Carolina, the home state of Underwood, the marketing machine at Netflix actually set up a campaign office during the primaries. There’s literature on his platform available on the website, and a whole array of other campaign gear, just as if he were actually on the ballot.
  • Nickelodeon – Kids Pick the President

This one definitely falls under the category of public service as well as affording a brand boost for Nick. Dating back to the 1988 presidential election, Nickelodeon has allowed kid to voice their vote. During some election cycle, kids had to go into sponsoring partner businesses like Target in order to vote in “polling places”.

Today the vote is online, though the results are announced during Nick’s Saturday night block of television programs. With a massively interactive website, Kids Pick the President conveniently links directly into Nick’s other online content. The whole exercise has proven to be a big public relations boost for the kid network, in addition to being a relevant part of the political process – Kids Pick the President has chosen correctly in six out of seven election cycles since its inception.

Back during the Super Bowl, Budweiser premiered an ad featuring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer promoting the idea of getting rid of partisan politics in favor of something we can all agree on – beer. The atmosphere of the whole ad campaign is similar to that of a high stakes political candidate, swathed in red, white, and blue. An American brand of beer for the American people.

With events all over the country throughout the presidential election cycle, Budweiser has created its own ripe opportunity for building its brand within the framework of the presidential election.
With the election, there’s the chance to reach even more people because it is the biggest event in the United States, for nearly eighteen months. Think about that – people start talking about presidential politics well over a year before a vote is cast, then keep talking about it for months after.

Newsjack it. Create your own excitement around the election with some distinctive marketing that sets you apart and capture the imagination of your customers. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Be sensitive – people will become frustrated and turned off if you’re not respectful.
  • Be fun – it’s ok to have fun with the serious business of the election, in fact you can lighten the mood and draw in customers who are frustrated with the whole thing.
  • Be creative – you can do this with anything from menu items to social media. Think about how your business is connected to politics, or how it mirrors it.
  • Be relevant – there are markers throughout the election cycle that can push your brand building even higher, like debates or major news stories.

Even those who are weary of the cycle will appreciate an engaging and relevant ad campaign about campaigning, and you’ll find that you can boost your brand simply and effectively.


Pete Peranzo

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