Survey: Obama is Google; McCain is AOL; and Palin is, um, Google

The 2008 Presidential Image Power Brands List suggests great similarities between Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

A company run by Hillary Clinton's fine people-knower, Mark Penn, got together with the highly-regarded Landor Associates, an organization that once came to the enlightening conclusion that "green is the color of reading," to research the relationship between presidential candidates and brands.

It makes for very colorful reading. Purple, to my eyes.

It seems that the respondents, who came from all political shades and who intended to vote, were asked to choose which brand best characterized Barack Obama, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Joe Biden.

The brands were from most of the essential categories--cars, coffee, Internet search engine, portable music devices, social networking sites, mobile phone carriers, you know, the essentials.

The survey's results betray a depth of consumer perception that few might have expected.

While Joe Biden and John McCain are both AOL, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are both, apparently, Google.

"I'm a PC. You betcha I am." CC SSKennel

The authors of this report suggest that the Google association reflects the personable and youthful nature of both candidates. Which might leave some to wonder whether respondents might have thought that AOL stood for An Old Label.

The candidates were also evenly split when it came to cell-phone brands. Senators Biden and McCain were both AT&T, while the Obama-Palin tandem apparently said to people "Verizon."

Where does that warm and fuzzy conclusion leave the iPhone? Ah, now, the survey is quite definite that Barack Obama is the iPhone. While the other three are Blackberries. No, really.

And you may begin to feel a little more queasy, regardless of your political leanings, when you discover that all four candidates were iPods (you don't see a little Zune in Joe Biden?).

I am fairly confident, however, that there will be metaphorical or, in some cases, physical regurgitation at the conclusion that, when it came to social-networking sites, all four of these fine politicians were MySpace, rather than Facebook.

The authors seem to put this down to MySpace's alleged game-changing nature. But some might think this clear bilge, as even a cadaver could tell you that John McCain is, my friends, a quintessential Friendster.

Now I know that the most important questions for readers, far above "Believer vs. Atheist" and "Desperate Housewives vs. the Discovery Channel," is that huge political issue: "Mac vs. PC."

Please put down your weapons, step away from all sharp objects, blunt instruments, potential projectiles and, um, walls.

Alright, here it is.

Sarah Palin, Joe Biden, and John McCain are, so the people say, all PCs. Yes, just like Sanjay Gupta, Eva Longoria, and the men with beards and glasses.

While the 1,002 voters were tied, yes, their heat was dead, when it came to deciding whether Barack Obama really is a Mac or a PC.

Who would have thought that, should he be elected, the first crisis facing Senator Obama would be an identity crisis?