For twenty-four years, I’ve watched a public display of political patty-cake with an undertone of turpitude that I must admit kinda bores me. Not much has changed. The core issues remain the same, untouched and wilted similar to the tits on Rosie O’Donnell. (A little Trump humor.) As much as the so-called politicos would have loved a Bush-Clinton rematch, I’m relieved we appear to have been spared this rerun – at least for now. 1992 is history. It should stay there.
Over the last eight years I’ve become a bit numb to the word “change”. Trump and Sanders, however, are changing this for me. Why? Because both candidates embody two essential fundamentals of a great public relations campaign: 1) A good Teller & 2) A good tale. And nobody wants to miss out on a good story. This is how the best marketers and Hollywood filmmakers alike connect with their audiences.
Make no mistake, I’m not endorsing either candidate. Nor am I agreeing with their politics. It’s just that both men appear to be solving the messaging conundrum in today’s political climate and I’m merely analyzing why their messaging is so effective.
One of my professional mantras has always been to be clear, concise & compelling. I call these the three “C’s” of impactful messaging. When massaged into the teller and tale, this combination packs a punch slightly less powerful than a Bill Cosby martini. Marketers oftentimes nail only two of the three. Many viewers can recite ads aired throughout last week’s Super Bowl (good job on concise & compelling), yet few can tell you what the ads were promoting (oops on clear). See what I mean?
To be fair, when it comes to politicians, the clear part can be a bit of anomaly that never ceases to entertain me. From George H.W. Bush’s “read my lips…” to Bill Clinton’s, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”, clarity doesn’t necessarily translate to truth. But Sanders and Trump exude a certain believable conviction, appearing more grounded and sincere than the usual suspects. Could there be an honest chance that honesty has landed in politics, honestly? Perhaps this is a lofty expectation, but the notion of putting public service back into politics certainly feels right. It’s no wonder these untraditional candidates are resonating with mainstream folks.
Unarguably both Trump and Sanders have wit, a trait that certainly helps with being concise while simultaneously giving way to being compelling. To date, I believe Trump has yet to once go over the amount of time allowed to answer a debate question. And I don’t know who the genius creator is of the “Bernie Sanders Playing The Bongos” video but the Huffington Post has done the best job optimizing it, so here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzmVSGFW5HY
A recent poll asked, “If you absolutely had to sleep with one of the following people who would it be: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or Justin Timberlake?” 99% picked Justin. Ok, I totally made that up. Sanders and Trump won’t become sex symbols anytime soon (oh please no), but just as Timberlake brought sexy back in 2006, these two candidates are certainly thrusting a much-needed appeal into politics a decade later that I’m finding intriguing. Here’s to new tellers and tales!