Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Sad But True But Sad

Three years ago, during my Onion infatuation (the online newspaper, not the cooking accessory) I wrote a satirical article about Coke and Pepsi Co. trying to get their products elected to public office. This morning, my roommate sent me a link to the New York Times:

"Lester Speight, the actor who plays the brash, voluble character named Terry Tate in a series of popular television and online commercials for Reebok International, has filed to appear on the ballot of the Oct. 7 recall election. The filing of nomination documents, overseen by the Reebok agency, the Arnell Group in New York, was made under the name Lester Terry Tate Speight on a nonpartisan party line."

Later in the article, we get this:

"I hope Terry Tate gets elected," said David Altschul, president at Character, a consulting company in Portland, Ore., that specializes in creating and reviving brand and advertising characters. "He can hardly do worse than Gray Davis."

The idea is not without risk, Mr. Altschul said, primarily if consumers perceive it to be mocking the political process. That pitfall is compounded by the fact the candidates in the recall are already struggling to be taken seriously amidst the wacky, circuslike elements of the race.

Some people will think the Speight campaign is disrespectful, Mr. Altschul said, but that may be mitigated by the likelihood that "they are not part of the target audience" that Reebok seeks to reach in sponsoring the Tate campaign.

At the risk of disturbing all those little fishies swimming around in the metaphorical oak barrel, the target audience for this campaign are the demographic known as idiots. Lucky for Tate that he’s running in California.