the difference between selling and marketing

It’s beginning to get to that time…political advertising time.

Most political ads are really bad. I expect that they are so bad because there is a short-termism about them. They are they to sell, not to market. And there is a difference.

To “sell” something is much more tactical, much more direct and simple in telling you (hitting you over the head) with the message. Like those Head On commercials that everyone hates. Most political ads are like those, only with some patriotic music and an american flag or a family and kitty cat in the background.

To “market” something is to go much deeper, to find the intersection between your product and an unmet consumer need. You aren’t pushing a product so much as you are filling a gap in a consumer’s need profile.

A few political ads do this; a few political spots go beyond hitting you over the head with a message and trying to sell you to trying to find that human truth. One of my favorites (even though I was too young to see it anywhere but on YouTube) is the “Bear” spot by Hal Riney for Ronald Reagan:

I might just like this spot because of the voice talent. Or because I can now speak in that style to my Russian co-worker and call her “The Bear” to get a satisfying, if cheap, laugh.

But I think that I really like this spot because it is actually advertising as opposed to a poorly-produced, overly consumer tested paragraph from the candidate’s platform disguised as a TV spot.

There is a Bear…


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