As previously stated, in the Backlash Era, positive Buzz is no longer possible. Neither is successful spin, positioning or message framing. This is not because people are no longer capable of creating a message, buzz or framing. Anyone with a voice and a little bit of glibness can do that at any time. And it is not to say that no one will buy the spin; the world continues to produce suckers at a rate of 60 per hour.
In defining any Era, we are not saying everything blows a certain way, but that while breezes wander about, the prevailing wind runs in one direction. In the early 1980’s, New Wave dominated among the youth, but some continued to be hippies. Likewise, in the Backlash Era, there will be those who continue to hype. But the important point is that what Hype is created will provoke even greater Backlash from a culture suffering a severe hangover from the Hype of the past decade. It is a terrible place for a marketeer to be in, where they can only do themselves harm and every step they take only mires them deeper in the quicksand.
The Presidential election poses then an interesting challenge for the The Backlash Era because in the end, both candidates can not lose, as much as the public will probably be wishing that could be the case by November. Someone must actually win and voters can not just vote against one candidate, they have to vote for the other.
Well, yes and no.
Studying how this will go, we at Rushfield Babylon offer one simple prediction that we guarantee will determine the outcome of the election: Whichever candidate the public is thinking about the most when they vote will lose. The candidate on their mind the least will win. The perfect candidate right now would be a glass of water at room temperature.
We will be monitoring this election with this rule in mind, to watch how it plays out through the prism of the Backlash Era. To kick-off our campaign watch, we noticed a quote that seemed particularly not to grasp how much the worm has turned and how the conversation has moved beyond the control of political candidates. For the past couple weeks, Mitt Romney has been in the center of the news and President Obama has kept a relatively low profile, as low as sitting Presidents campaigning for re-election can keep. As a result, most polls show he has drifted up a point or a few during this period.
However, the normally astute 538 blog is suspicious of this drift, and gives the following, entirely reason:
Might Mr. Obama have gained half a point, or a point, based on whatever residual factors that voters are thinking about? Sure, and Mr. Romney would rather that movement be in his direction instead. But has Mr. Obama gained three points, at a time when most ordinary Americans are watching the Olympics? Probably not.
The post suggests that it would be difficult for the President to move up so far at a time when Americans are not paying attention to him. But in the Backlash Era, that is precisely when candidates will gain traction, when people can for a few moments manage to forget they exist.
Ahead for Mitt Romney: an enormous burst of publicity with the naming of a running mate and the Republican National Convention. We’ll check back in and see how the laws of Backlash play out under the heat of this public focus.