“When Madison Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue Merge: A Review of “Political Brands'”

Eric Segall:

f you are worried about the state of our political system in the age of Facebook advertising, Russian interference in our elections, dark money in politics, and President Trump’s Twitter account, among many other disturbing trends, Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy’s wonderful new book “Political Brands” is unlikely to make you feel any better. However, it will make you much better informed regarding the many threats facing American democracy. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in how Madison Avenue and political movements have merged to present new and unique risks to our representative, constitutional democracy.

Professor Torres-Spelliscy is a law professor whose legal expertise no doubt informed her readable and accessible analysis of the role branding plays in our political system. The major contribution of the book, however, is not law-centered but rather the laying out in great detail the many dangers posed by politicians, interest groups, political parties, and even foreign countries who use branding to “influence public opinion…even if what is getting branded is the truth, a lie, a myth, or a conspiracy.” (p.1). 


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