Clotaire Rapaille, a French psychologist turn corporate marketer, deeply believes there is an underlying, subconscious “code” on everything we come into contact with. Based on this, he comes up with marketing strategies for blue-chip companies that unlock these codes with consumers and increase their probability to purchase the company's products thus increasing their sales.
For instance, he delineates the different, subconscious codes that Americans and the French have in regard to cheese. For Americans, cheese is dead; put it in the refrigerator – don’t let it spoil! For the French the cheese is alive. Buy it as needed, purchasing it according to the cheese's life-expectency clock in their heads. He states:
"The French like the taste before safety. Americans want safety before the taste."
It is an interesting concept. His PBS interview is definitely worth a read for anyone ever wanting to market a product.
Now, I am not sure I agree with everything Rapaille says, and I think he has created for himself a pretty good shtick, the “French psychologists; super, premier code unlocker,” through which he charges a hefty premium. Being a marketing person myself, I tend to go for a more tangible reality when positioning and marketing a product. From my perspective, it is, "What is true the essence of the product?" So with this background piece, here is what I believe as the true essence, or subconscious codes, of the national candidates for the 2008 election. I believe if you get to their true essences, you will be able to get to a better view of who is going to win the election.
John McCain: His subconscious code is “Prison-of-War”. Everyone knows his story. People have this dark curiosity about this chapter of his life and don't know what the specific details are. When people call him "a patriot" or "honorable", they are not refering to McCain the Senator, they are really referring to his POW story.
Sara Palin: Her subconscious code, I believe, is “Mother” There are many politicians in the media today, very few that can tear down a convention with a speech and then moments later hug her 4-month-old on national television. She is so much a "Mother" that she started her activist career in the PTA, again underscoring her as a mother. The intense hatred towards her is probably based on this underlying code. Stay at home mom’s aren’t knowledgeable, bringing a Down Syndrome baby to term is not practical, a mother who is sending her son off to Iraq to a wrong war, etc... “Mother” is definitely the code.
Barack Obama: His subconscious code is “Dynamic”. He represents change, which is the definition of dynamic. He represents the Democrats wanting to change the control of Bush government, as he personally represents a change to the genetic make up of the Presidency. "I don't look like the guys on the currency." The code, “Dynamic” also subconsciously underscores his personality and oratory skills. I believe this is his term.
Joe Biden: He was the most difficult for me to define. I finally settled with the code: “Scrapper.” It speaks to his style of enjoying a fight. It speaks to the challenges in his life that he had to overcome, including the death of family members. It speaks of his Scranton upbringing. It speaks of his appearance; rolled up sleeves, displaced hair, sloping eyes. When people mention blue-collar with Biden, they are really speaking to his roots not his present day tendencies, and how he climbed his way to success.
So there are my codes. The 2008 Presidential Election will feature Prisoner-of-War/Mother verses Dynamic/Scrapper. I believe the Republicans have the better subconscious code ticket. Time will tell.