Personal Branding Mishaps By The US Political Campaigners – Slogans Gone Wrong

Feature Image Source: Freepik
In their attempt to be politically unique, some politicians often get weird with their choice of words. While they are politically incorrect on multiple occasions, what leaves a permanent dent on their personality is the choice of slogans. It’s not just the opposition that toys with the original slogan, sometimes the campaign supporters like to poke fun. Each party has this job to market their candidate and build some excitement so that people remain engaged. Before moving on, let me clarify this post is not about Donald Trump. We will highlight some sloppy attempts to choose slogans by political campaigners.

Barry Goldwater 1964

Although Barry was an active campaigner with a serious stance, his slogan got trashed by the opponent Lyndon Johnson and his supporters. Barry represented the Republican Party and wanted to create a sense of goodwill by presenting an aggressive but true to heart image. His mistake was choosing an open-ended slogan “In your heart you know he’s right”, that seems to invite the opponents to flip it around. The original slogan was appreciated by the masses, but what really got stuck was the response “In your guts, you know he’s nuts”. That was an unfortunate personal branding failure.

Barry Goldwater 1964Image Source: Parallel Narratives

John Kerry 2004

A lot of people might not give credit to Kerry for his political rhetoric but his slogan was something. It was plagiarized. “Let America be America again” is the name of a famous poem by Langston Hughes which was an apolitical symbol of patriotism. Despite everything he couldn’t convincingly pull it off and the slogan just raised too many questions. This was again a branding fail not because it sounded unusual but because of his lack of smart endorsement.

John Kerry 2004Image Source: Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections

Bill Clinton 1992

It’s the economy stupid, is a slogan that invites active criticism for a man whose life is full of controversies. At that time, America was going through a phase of recession and this campaign slogan by Clinton directly criticized the previous government. Can political terminologies be this casual to allow the use of the word stupid? The use of derogatory monikers for the voters is bold but not smart. Clinton’s other slogans were just as insane. This was another case where the slogan added to the personal branding mishap.

Bill Clinton 1992Image Source: SlideShare/VoiceSA

Arnold Schwarzenegger 2004

The use of casual tone and mocking words is not something unheard of in the world of politics. “Don’t be a girlie men, vote republican”, was the slogan that Arnold could come up with to mock the voters who support the opponent. When you are implying that whoever votes for the opponent is a sissy, it will make people question your capabilities. This was indeed a reckless personality branding failure.

Image Source: Getty Images

Franklin Pierce 1852

We Polked you in 44, we shall Pierce you in 52! This was the slogan used by Franklin Pierce in his winning presidential campaign in 1852. It sounds like an aggressive campaign slogan that implies violent death. Indeed this was a grave mistake because puns like these should not have a place in politics. It remains one of the most remembered slogans of all time that is like a reminder that the last candidate was a democrat as well. The slogans implies that in 1844, James K. Polk was the candidate and in 1852, Franklin Pierce has taken his place.

Franklin Pierce 1852Image Source: Heritage Auctions

George W. Bush 2004

America’s top gun is an example of self-glory where the candidate views himself as a war hero. The slogan was an inspiration from the 1986 blockbuster “Top Gun”. This was the time when America was at war with Iraq and Bush’ campaign was focused on US military recruitment which became the heart of the campaign.

George W.Bush 2004Image Source: Pinsdaddy

Harry Truman 1944

Pour It On ‘Em, Harry! Was it a thing back then? It seems like a last minute slogan where nobody really sat down to discuss it. Truman will always be remembered as the man who ended World War 2 after dropping an atomic bomb on Japan but this slogan will also remain the reason for his fame.

Harry Truman 1944Image Source: Pinsdaddy

Thomas Dewey 1948

If you ever want to see real mudslinging, watch the republican candidates create slogans. Keep the Ass off the Whitehouse grass, it’s all Dewey was one of their slogans that reflects nothing about the candidate. These buttons use the Democratic symbol of the donkey is a clever way, telling voters to keep the ass off the grass – it’s time for Dewey! Thomas Dewey was twice the Republican candidate for president, losing to Franklin Roosevelt in 1944 and Harry Truman in 1948.

Thomas Dewey 1948Image Source: Heritage Auctions

Jimmy Carter 1976

This was an incredible personal branding fail where the slogan nearly ruined it. Jimmy Carter wanted to bring a sense of personality to the campaign by adding the story that he took over his family’s peanut farm and did quite well at running it. In the presidential campaign for 1976, he wanted to tell the world that he can do more than just managing a farm, like managing a country. From the slogan alone “Not Just Peanuts”, no one could ever imagine that it refers to a political campaign. To me this sounds like a snack or cookies ad slogan that offers more than just peanuts. The funny part is, he went on to win the presidency. I guess people hardly cared about the slogans back then.

Jimmy Carter 1976Image Source: Pinsdaddy

Dwight Eisenhower 1956

A self-proclaimatory slogan that says I like the candidate lacks creativity and personality. Using the same slogan again “I still like lke” was like putting the campaign at risk. Ok you like the guy what’s next? Aren’t the slogans supposed to give a glimpse of political device they are going to use or any agenda they would particularly focus on? So this slogan was a weak attempt to brand a politician who deserved more.

Dwight Eisenhower 1956Image Source: eXiled Online
Check out the slogans gone wrong and the way they were received by the audiences.

US Political Campaigners
As you can see this year’s rollicking race for president is not the first time we have seen mudslinging, it’s part and parcel in politics. We are still about to witness personal branding faceoff – Hillary vs Trump which is going to be one the craziest political showdown in history.

What do you have to say about this year’s contenders?

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Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

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