November 8, 2006
Political Branding: Diebold in 2006
The big loser in this year’s electoral races looks set to be the Diebold Elections Systems, a brand name that is the focus of an excellent Fortune article entitled, “Rage Against the Machine”. After a series of mishaps on election day - which included one deranged voter literally smashing a Diebold machine, it seems likely that Diebold will try to get out of the election business altogether and save its brand's reputation.
It seems a shame because the problems that these machines cause are more often than not caused by human beings and, as the Fortune article points out, other forms of casting the ballot are not any more dependable. The Association for Computing Machinery is keeping careful track of the various complaints and glitches that seem to be popping up and casting the Diebold and Sequoia brand names in a negative light.
Diebold recently fought to have an HBO documentary cancelled that cast its machines in a bad light while others claim they can either hack the machines or open them up using mini-bar keys. It’s enough to make a brand manager considering throwing in the towel.
I cannot think of any brand that is under such intense and bitter scrutiny. If being the brand name of choice for voting machines turns out to be too risky for the companies that take up the challenge, we might find it very hard indeed to modernize the way we carry out democracy in the USA.
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