There’s Power And Then There’s The Power Of Image Advertising

Jon Huntsman is the other Mormon for President, the one from Utah. But he’s about to transcend that early label and find some better fitting ones like “the good looking guy” for President, or “the youthful family man” for President.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Huntsman is trying something different in GOP politics: a campaign based almost entirely on atmospherics. The campaign from Hollywood-based strategist Fred Davis is, in many ways, “the political version of a Ralph Lauren product launch.”

“And it has the political class wondering: Can it possibly succeed? Can a guy who is marching well to the left of the core of his party—and garnering barely 2% in most national polls—surge to the fore on the strength of what his message guru calls “a phased branding” campaign designed to sell him as cool, young and different?”

Yes, it can succeed. The issues before voters are too weighty to fairly consider. Which means other, more superficial factors, like how well a candidate appears on TV, how well the candidate does in debates, and the quality of the candidate’s commercials and web efforts, become the most important elements in a race the capture the nation’s attention and heart.

Politically speaking, I find Huntsman’s experiences in Asia–he was Ambassador to China and Singapore before that–interesting credentials at this time when Americans are looking across the Pacific, not the Atlantic, for business.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. “This guy is different. He’s perfect. John Huntsman.”  It’s a seriously flawed strategy.

    • I know what you mean, Tom, but in a fight for the middle, Huntsman looks to be a viable alternative to Obama. Much more so than anyone else I see in the field.

      When candidates sink into the fray, hope is lost. Huntsman’s people are taking pages and pages from Obama’s 2008 play book.

      Have you seen his web site? It’s tightly integrated with Facebook and the campaign puts out a new video every day.

      Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so I’ve been told.