Despite increasing academic interest in political marketing, confusion remains over its meaning and scope. Whilst most research focuses on its use in election campaigns, some argue that marketing influences other aspects of political behaviour. This article contends that a lack of comparative research has contributed to this confusion. Theories derived from country-specific studies may not be broadly applicable due to the impact of systemic differences. To show this, it analyses the case studies of Clinton in the 1992 U.S. Presidential election and Blair in the 1997 U.K. general election. Comparing the use of marketing in the two cases reveals that while systemic features created the scope for a broader, more co-ordinated and delivery-oriented approach in the case of Labour, in both cases marketing influenced the design as well as the presentation of the “products” on offer. This suggests that the potential applications of political marketing are broader than conventional definitions imply.

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