Likeability Is An Asset In A Popularity Contest

Marketing consultant, Alan Wolk, believes there is wisdom in keeping things simple when attempting to market a complicated product in difficult times. So does the Republican Party, which is what makes them a tough foe for the overly analytical Dems.
Here’s Wolk’s take on the appeal of Sarah Palin:

I think that part of the equation with Palin, (and this is likely a subconscious thought) is that there’s a strong feeling on the part of most of her supporters that all the experts, all the smart guys, all the pundits and gurus and PhDs have messed up. That despite their stellar credentials, they’ve managed to do nothing more than lead us into the morass. So that a Disney-movie heroine can’t actually do any worse. And if her entire foreign policy experience is limited to the ability to see Russia from her house, that doesn’t really put her at a disadvantage compared to the guys with Harvard PhDs in Islamic Studies who still can’t seem to find Osama Bin Laden or figure out a way to keep the Muslim extremists at bay.

In other words, there’s a strong strain of anti-intellectualism in America. None of this is news, of course. Fox and conservative talk radio have made billions by shaping content that isn’t too hard to understand.
I find all this interesting because I want to believe Americans have common sense, even if they lack education. We often say in advertising how we need to honor the customer. Yet, there are countless cases where “dumb ads” outperformed “smart ads.”
“So bad it’s good” is the line that comes to mind. Maybe that’s what Palin is and maybe that’s exactly what the majority wants. It’s scary for Dems to consider, but if Dems want to win (and you have to win before you can serve “the people”), they better start walking a mile in a working woman’s shoes.
[UPDATE] It’s my belief that this type of comedy (and free media) is beneficial to the McCain/Palin ticket. I’ve read sentiments that differ from my own and that’s fine. But what I keep trying to say is this: STOP THINKING RATIONALLY. Voting is emotional.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.