Merchandising the Monarch: Reagan and the Presidential Elections

  • Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessy


The prerequisite of political success in America today is to conceive your election as a product marketing exercise. The marketing dynamic is not the only way to interpret elections — the play of orthodox political factors also colours and determines them — but as it explains the conceptual, tactical and technological approaches taken it is a useful one. Elections are spectacular, like a circus; they have their ringmasters and their acrobats. They are for the audience but not of them.


Presidential Election Marketing Concept Campaign Spending Thematic Approach Marketing Approach 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    These pages refer extensively to McGinnis, Joe, The Selling of the President, 1968 (New York: Trident Press, 1969).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See MacNeil, Robert, The People Machine (London: Eyre and Spottis-woode, 1970) for account of Nixon’s lack of televisual appeal (p. 138).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See English, David, Divided They Stand (London: Michael Joseph, 1969).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See White, Theodore, H., The Making of the President, 1960 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1962) on how Nixon ignored his advertising advisers (p. 312).Google Scholar
  5. 24.
    Blumenthal, Sidney, The Permanent Campaign (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982).Google Scholar
  6. 25.
    Nimmo, Dan, The Political Persuaders (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970).Google Scholar
  7. 26.
    Perry, James, The New Politics (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968).Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    Chagai, David, The New Kingmakers (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981).Google Scholar
  9. 34.
    For an account of the 1980 Presidential Campaign see Wayne, Stephen J., The Road to the White House (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980) and also the Washington Post, Pursuit of the Presidency. Google Scholar
  10. 36.
    For an account of Kennedy in 1980 see Drew, Elizabeth, Portrait of an Election (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981) p. 161.Google Scholar
  11. 43.
    McKay, David, American Politics and Society (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1983).Google Scholar
  12. 48.
    For an account of Reagan’s Presidential Leadership see Sandoz and Cecil (eds), Election 84 (New York: Mentor Books, 1985) ch. 3.Google Scholar
  13. 53.
    See Atkinson, Max, Our Masters’ Voices (London: Methuen, 1984) for an account of Reagan’s conversational style and its suitability for television, pp. 166, 167.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Denton, R.E. and Woodard, Gary C, Political Communication in America (New York: Praeger, 1985) for mention of political symbols, p. 34 and symbolic nature of presidency, ch. 7.Google Scholar
  2. Seymour Ure, Colin, The American President: Power and Communication (London: Macmillan, 1982).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessy 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessy

There are no affiliations available

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