Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama's Popularity, McCain's Lack Thereof

The McCain campaign has rolled out a bold new tactic.

The latest charge they've leveled against Obama is this: He's the most popular celebrity in the world.

They put this accusation in a campaign ad. And to make sure the point wasn't missed, they held a conference call as well.

Could an exclusive with US Weekly be far behind?

So, let's get this straight. McCain and Obama are both candidates for this particular job that you win - apart from divine intervention by the Supreme Court - by being the more, well, popular.

Essentially, then, the McCain camp is charging Obama with ... positioning himself to win the election? Thank goodness he's brought this to our attention.

Since when has popularity been so unpopular with Republicans? Anybody remember this guy Ronald Reagan? Most popular president of my lifetime. Really, who'd want that kind of treatment?

By railing against popularity, McCain is once again aligning himself with the man whose job he hopes to assume, our current president, whose popularity ratings are so low the Gallup organization may need to recalibrate its metrics and come up with a polite synonym for "loathed."

McCain must be betting that he can tap into the collective American resentment of popular people, which most of us (the great silent unpopular majority) have harbored since junior high.

And who better than McCain to take a brave stand on behalf of all the unpopular people. Why, doing so might be just what his campaign needs to make McCain more, well, popular.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a Keyword Now

It happened suddenly. One day I was just an average guy, writing marketing copy for a living.

Now, I’m famous – Internet famous. Well, keyword famous, anyway. I’m not just a copywriter. Apparently, I’m the copywriter. The proverbial gold standard. Here’s how I found out.

Every now and then I Google myself. Don’t act shocked. Everyone does it. The experts say it’s perfectly normal to Google yourself every few days.

Anyway, I Googled MARK SILBER and up popped an ad from the self-proclaimed “King of Copy.”

The headline said, “Outsell Mark Silber” and the rest of the text read, “Copywriting That Blows Your Mind & Sells Like Crazy: Not For Beginners.”

What did the King mean, “Not For Beginners”? And why did he insist on initial caps for every word, even prepositions?

Now curious, I Googled the name of my business, SILBERWARE. A different ad came up.

“Sell Like Mark Silber,” the headline offered. A mere parity claim this time. Perhaps my opponent had recognized the futility of trying to “Outsell Mark Silber” and was prepared to settle for a draw. The rest of the text, however, was somewhat disturbing: “No Sales-Hype Phony Mumbo-Jumbo, Just Real-Life Examples That Work.”

“Sales-Hype Phony Mumbo-Jumbo” – that wasn’t a reference to the work of Mark Silber, was it?

I clicked through to my challenger’s site, in so doing costing him a buck or two. The headline on the King of Copy’s homepage read, “Who Do Maverick Marketing Millionaires Consult With When They Need Expert Advice? Step inside and find out for yourself.”

I scanned the page. Cute pictures of his kid and their dogs. Unusually specific claims like “$51,525 Dollars worth of actual winning hard-hitting sales copy samples, loaded with every trick in the book!” and “Subscribe To Craig Garber's Daily eZine Right NOW - A $197 Value, Yours FREE!” In short, all kinds of statements that, were I not a charitable soul, I might have characterized as sales hype phony mumbo-jumbo.

But no further mention of Mark Silber. Frankly, I was a little let down.

Nonetheless, I reminded myself, I was still a keyword. How would my newfound fame change my life, I wondered. Would there be interviews? Product endorsements? Cameo appearances on reality programs?

I called my wife to tell her and immediately regretted the impulse. My wife, you see, is a lawyer. There will be “confusion in the marketplace,” she said. Prospective clients of mine would mistakenly think the King of Copy’s ad was actually my ad and conclude I’m “not serious.” Considering that my own homepage prominently features a laughing monkey seated at a typewriter, it was hard to see how the ad could somehow degrade my reputation.

I called my mother and told her. She immediately said how proud she was. Then she asked what a keyword was. Then she repeated the same questions she always does about the Internet – where it is, for example. Then she asked when I was coming over to fix her computer.

I’m tempted to contact the King of Copy. But what would I say? “Cease and desist!”? “Thanks!”? “Do you mind if I copyedit your site for grammar and usage?” Maybe any sort of acknowledgment would be beneath my dignity. I am, after all, a keyword now.

So in the end I chose to do nothing. But you better believe I’ll be Googling myself regularly.