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

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.