John McCain’s campaign website misses the mark

Senator John McCain’s new website proudly proclaims its “A Departure From The Traditional Campaign Website” – you’re not kidding me. It looks like something Count Dracula would design for his kids. The influential Bivings Report says it reminds them of Schindler’s List!

The sombre black and white funereal imagery simply acts to remind voters that Senator McCain isn’t the youngest kid on the block. What makes it worse is the gushing tones of the announcement news release:

“In 2000, John McCain harnessed the power of the internet in a way that was new and unique to campaigns,” said Christian Ferry, National eCampaign Director. “This site continues to build on that experience, recognizing the importance of new media in today’s political discourse and the power of technology to inform, involve, and connect individuals to a candidate and a campaign.”

“This site is a departure from the traditional campaign website in both design and navigation,” continued Ferry. “It is designed to engage users with a different visual experience on every page, giving them unique insight into the rich personal story of John McCain and his years of experience that differentiates him as ready to lead.”

They should realise that “years of experience” is a good thing, looking like you’re ready for the grave isn’t. I’m also not convinced that lots of talking head videos are such a good idea when your candidate is so dull.

So far John Edwards and Barack Obama are streets ahead in terms of understanding what social media is and how they need to participate. The others all give the impression that social media is this new internet thing that they need to do. They haven’t grasped that it is actually part of how society as whole is changing and that politics needs to change with it. It will be interesting to see if any Republicans “get it” – I suspect Rudy Giuliani might, but he hasn’t yet.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.pivotalrelations.com/blog Kevin Davis

    I'll agree that so far as colors and design, the site is a bit horrid, especially in comparison to the other front runner candidate sites.

    However, given the greater size of it's content and text and simplicity in design… they may very well be doing the right thing.

    Why? Because McCain's goal isn't to convert the youth voting populace… at least right now. He needs to tap the older population that already favors him or is deciding between him and the other Republican candidates.. and using his website to craft his overall campaign message and to reaffirm the financial support and voting block of his adult republican fans.

    So it may not be the greatest design, but sometimes even the ugliest of designs can be the most successful for niche areas… and in McCain's situation… he is at least on the right track.