How I’m Voting: In This High-Stakes Branding Contest, I’m Picking Obama

By Patrick Garrigan October 19, 2012, 8:35 AM EDT

As Election Day, November 6, approaches, we asked some event industry professionals to explain how they’re deciding which presidential candidate will win their vote.

I’m Patrick Garrigan, and I’m a political junkie.

For about 16 months before we vote we are treated to the most incredible reality TV show ever crafted, featuring entertainment with all the drama of a Real Housewives reunion special: “Obama is an elitist! He eats arugula, an inherently elitist green!” “Mitt will strap Fido to the roof of his car, and drive it off a fiscal cliff of some sort!” It’s very bold.

Look at the ratings to see that we’re all hungry to consume every morsel of this seasonal theater. As someone in the event business, I have to hand it to the campaigns—through indirect collaboration with CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC—they provide folks like myself with a graduate-level course in branding, messaging, event production, and more often then not these days, high-stakes PR damage control.

As a debate-watching, political-tweeting, poll-watching member of the electorate, I have weighed the options over the past few months and opt to give our current president another four years.

Why am I going to vote for Obama? Trickle down economics don’t work. I don’t mind paying taxes for necessary services, and I believe in a country where your parents having or not having money does not predicate what your opportunities are.  

America is at its best when there’s opportunity for new consumers to purchase products and build communities. In turn, this shapes the future of technology, finance, and culture. Combined with the fact that increased opportunity brings more diverse and creative voices to the table, it all just makes sense.

Is Obama a perfect pick? No, but there isn’t a Clinton on the ballot this year so I’ll have to make an informed, albeit slightly less impassioned selection. While I have made up my mind regarding who I’ll vote for, I continue to watch the debates and the campaign trail very closely. There is no higher-stakes game than the one that decides who will be the next president of our country. 

With so much on the line, there are bound to be some revolutionary and transferable tactics implemented which can be used to inform my work and that of the events industry as a whole.

Patrick Garrigan is vice president at Michael Alan Group, a nontraditional events and production company based in New York.

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