The U.S. 2004 Presidential Election: Politics or Marketing?

How did effective marketing choices and positioning help a Republican incumbent win a tight presidential race, and, conversely, what marketing missteps did his Democratic rival make?
Michel Tuan Pham  | Spring 2008
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The 2004 U.S. presidential election pitted incumbent George W. Bush against Democratic challenger John F. Kerry at a time when Bush's approval ratings had dropped well below their peak following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bush portrayed Kerry as "flip-flopping" on issues, while Kerry initially ignored damaging allegations from a group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which questioned his Vietnam war record. In this case students examine data such as polling results and approval ratings and consider what constitutes an effective marketing strategy.

Case ID: 070501

This case is used in core curriculum

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