Makes me wonder how often good branding wins out over quality. Nike has done an excellent job of branding - the swoosh is recognized around the world, and everyone knows which brand has the slogan "Just Do It."
Living in Helena, this automatically made me think of politics, and reminded me of the movie the Distinguished Gentleman, where Eddie Murphy plays a con man who wins an election because he shares his name with the deceased congressman.
The question them becomes, how many politicians win on name recognition alone? When I vote, I tend to go check some websites, check people's platforms, and vote if their platforms align with mine (which tends to heavily emphasis civil liberties). This year in Montana, it's hard not to know about Conrad Burns, and his involvement with Abramoff, but I wonder if Rehburg will defeat Lindeen just because her name isn't out there, and people don't know anything about her.
The ancillary question would then be how much should candidates be allowed to spend? The libertarian in me thinks everyone should be allowed to spend as much as they want, but in reality that ends up with people buying elections, and our society turning into more and more of an oligarchy.
Amazing how this parallels the shoes though - sometimes the superior product/store will lose because people want the brand they recognize . . . even if that brand uses sweatshop labor and turns out an inferior product . . .