26 minutes | Aug 2, 2020
“Selling A President 2020” speaks with the leader of the most talked-about ad agency in the country today, Reed Galen of The Lincoln Project. Ellis and Reed discuss how this SuperPac cum ad agency is hell-bent on voting Donald Trump out of office, and how his approach is serving as the template for the next generation of advertising agencies.
16 minutes | Apr 15, 2020
Strange Bedfellows - Selling a President 2020
ELLIS VERDI, President DeVito/Verdi: Traditional creative ad agencies are increasingly being divorced from political advertising. If campaigns rely on advertising more than ever today, then why is the work being entrusted to those outside the business? Is this a major mistake by candidates or simply navel gazing by the ad industry? Let the debate begin. This is Season 1, Episode 3 Strange bedfellows, politics and advertising. What is it about our industry that we are either not fitting in or fitting in? And when do we fit in? Should we even be assuming that we should have a role in political advertising? I don't know what the answer is to that. GREG HAHN Chief creative officer of BBDO New York: Because so much about politics right now is about the money they're spending on advertising, like it's all based on getting money for advertising. Yet when clients are hurting or their sales go down, the first they cut is advertising. If ever there was a case study for saying, you know, spend more money on advertising, you get a lift. ELLIS So if the business models don't align and the creative process tends to take too long for today's campaigns, it doesn't appear that traditional creative agencies will find a place on the presidential ticket anytime soon. We can make people cry. I don't think a political consultant or political agency knows how to do that. We can make an emotional reaction be so much stronger than anybody.. LEE GARFINKLE Advertising legend: This is probably one of the most important times in American history. And it's one of the most important opportunities or biggest opportunities for advertising, because I think advertising, whether it's a debate, whether it's commercials, whether it's on Facebook to make a difference and to not have the very, very best people in the industry involved to help, I think it's sad. ELLIS [00:15:51] If advertising agencies can make people cry and make them buy, you think candidates would return to a model that works so well for decades with so much riding on how a candidate is advertised to the electorate and how much is being spent to do so. Creative advertising needs to get back in the race, especially this year during the selling of a president 2020.
16 minutes | Mar 29, 2020
No Room for Nuance
In Selling a President 2020 episode two, No Room for Nuance, host Ellis Verdi and some of advertising's most creative minds examine how the media landscape has been upended and how we’ve let data, polling and the digital dicing of the candidates dictate political advertising. The evolution to digital has made us more democratic, but. Is this packaging of the candidates blemishing democracy?
13 minutes | Mar 16, 2020
Fear Sells - Selling a President 2020 Episode One
Fear sells. Anger motivates. In "Fear Sells," episode one of the DeVito/Verdi podcast "Selling a President 2020," host Ellis Verdi and some of the most creative minds in advertising look at the marketing phenomenon that is Donald Trump. As he showed in 2016, candidate Trump appealed to voters with ads and speeches that more or less preyed on people’s fears and stoked their anger. As he pushes for re-election, we discuss how his marketing is so on brand, how it has created such an intensely loyal following and why anger, fear and rage are so effective in the selling of a President, 2020. Transcript Episode One "Fear Sells" GREG [00:00:00] I think what people understand is how much Trump's behaviors are on brand. Right. So if he slept with your wife, that is completely on his brand in that it only supports him. ELLIS [00:00:16] Forget the stump speech the whistle stops and the kissing of babies. A candidate gets elected today largely through his or her advertising. On November 3rd, America will go to the voting booths and select the next president of the United States. Tens of millions of dollars will have been spent on selling the candidates to the country. Advertising's outsized role in the packaging of a president is what this podcast is all about. I thought it would be a fun idea to gather, some of the creative minds of advertising, along with some younger creative directors and political pros to play judge and jury with today's presidential political advertising. I'm Ellis Verdi and this is Selling a President 2020. We're not concerned with Right or Left, urban or rural, deplorable or elitist. Our attention is on how the candidates are making their pitch to the American public. After all, Election Day is democracy's one day sale. As we say in advertising, ELLIS [00:01:16] Fear sells, anger motivates. This episode. we'll take a look at how the president's marketing is so on brand, how it has created such an intensely loyal following and why anger, fear and rage are so effective in the selling of a president in 2020. Donald Trump is not the first to employ fear mongering in his appeal to voters or distort facts to discredit opponents and burnish his own image. But it clearly feels different this time around. This is Season 1, episode 1. “Fear Sells.” STUART [00:01:50] It used to be that if you were running negative advertising, you would least mix in some positive advertising to dull the idea that you are a son of a bitch. ELLIS [00:02:00] Famed New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott. STUART [00:02:05] Is that out the window now? Because Trump is just always on the attack. He's always angry and he's always attacking. And if there's nothing to attack, he'll make something up. LEE [00:02:13] Now, I think that the scary thing for me now, is you would count on facts and statistics to sway people's opinions. Obviously, you have to present them in a way that's interesting. ELLIS [00:02:25] Advertising legend Lee Garfinkel LEE [00:02:27] But I think four years ago the idea of facts became less relevant or rational thinking became less relevant. And so there's a big question mark for me right now is how does any candidate go forward and try to break through and actually change people's opinions, knowing that facts may not be the thing that separates you from the other guy? GREG [00:02:50] It's emotion. The biggest drivers in behavior are anger and fear in political circles. Chief Creative Officer, BBDO New York. Greg Hahn. So Trump's whole message is going to take something away from you or they're out to get you. And that's just a really powerful emotion. No matter what facts or policy underlying that or counter that, it doesn't matter because he's saying they're going to be something's going to be taken from me. So he really plays up the driving emotion where, you know, he gets that some of the other people are more rational, more fact based. It doesn't matter. Like you're not listening. LINDA [00:03:28] I think that look, Trump rewrote the rules. ELLIS [00:03:31] Advertising Hall of Famer and author Linda Kaplan Thaler, you know, it didn't really have much to do with these television commercials. LINDA [00:03:38] It was just that, you know, he was such an outlier. Everybody discounted him. LINDA [00:03:42] And he has sort of taken the reality TV platform and politicized it. And we have to factor that in, too. I think some of his advertising moving forward into the general election is going to be just for the hell of it kind of ads that are just going to be designed to make you laugh or make you freak out, make the other guys freak out. STUART [00:04:10] And that's gonna be big. STUART [00:04:15] That's gonna be one of his strategies. I think that it's gonna be unusual for political advertising. JONATHAN [00:04:21] I do think in terms of Trump, the humor is less about humor for humor's sake or entertainment for entertainment sake. ELLIS [00:04:27] Political consultant Jonathan Prince,. JONATHAN [00:04:29] As it is another vehicle for him to tap into the undercurrent. STUART [00:04:33] Oh, yeah, sure. Not hiring, you know, hiring a comedian to write him polished standup lines. He's doing humor within the context of his base. STUART [00:04:42] And what they find funny,. JONATHAN [00:04:43] You know, basically like an overlay of some legitimate economic insecurity on top of an enormous amount of horrible racial insecurity, anger and bitterness. And the humor is for people who are angry and fed up. GREG [00:04:59] There's a victim in his humor. There's an interesting article recently in The Washington Post that talked about the way Conservatives and Liberals see humor differently. They have different mindsets when it comes to humor, like they brought the point, like you never really have seen a successful conservative late night talk show because that kind of humor is normally based on irony and a certains bit of filling in gaps. They don't close the loop. They allow the viewer to sort of fill in the gaps and understand some context. Whereas conservatives just generally this is a generalization and you know, but they're saying their humor is very surface. It's like it's a form of exaggeration. It's very easily what you see is what you get. It's just a bigger version of that kind of thing. ELLIS [00:05:41] And what we've seen him accomplish would make any marketer envious. He's created a level of brand loyalty that is truly remarkable. Polarizing, yes. But that doesn't seem to matter. Knowing that half the country would never buy this brand doesn't change the messaging. He isn't fazed by it. He's found that amplifying people's rage and fear is a winning formula. Sacrilegious or not. Trump has positioned himself to be the savior for those he's targeted. And though it might not expand his brand, it's certainly cementing loyalty. GREG [00:06:13] Yeah. Even they'll vote against their best interests in policy. In some ways, because he's enraged them so much. And you know, you're a victim. You're being your way of life is being threatened and he's entertained them. Yeah. STUART [00:06:26] And I noticed that aspect, too. Apparently, there are a number of people that don't particularly like him or they don't like his tweets so they don't like how he speaks about women. GREG [00:06:39] It's hard to ignore. LEE [00:06:40] I mean, I wrote an editorial back in 2016 and I said, what can I possibly do to convince a Trump supporter not to vote for Trump? And I realized after a while, I don't think there's anything that I can do. And I ask people who were Trump's supporters. If you found out that Donald Trump had sex with your wife, would you still vote for him? You know, 99 percent of Trump supporters said, well, she probably had it coming or you probably you know, I wasn't paying attention to it. So, yeah, it's OK. And I realized I think targeting Trump supporters is probably a waste of money. And it's talk to the people that either haven't voted or aren't sure. GREG [00:07:19] I think this election is so different because I have a hard time figuring out who's undecided at this point. Like you've had three and a half years of Donald Trump, if you don't know if you like him or not,I don't know what's going to convince you, you know, where he stands, you know? You know what you're going to get. ELLIS [00:07:34] Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann,. TOM [00:07:36] That is the key, is that as much as a lot of people hate him, he is himself and he's not going to change anything. He's out there being the same character every time. STUART [00:07:46] So, you know, there's this theory about Trump and projection that everything Trump says, it's basically projecting back onto people what they've said about him. GREG [00:07:56] I think what people understand is how much of Trump's behaviors on brand. Right. So if he slept with your wife, that is completely on his brand in that only supports him. It's only what you expect from him. LINDA [00:08:08] I mean, you know, you talk to people with Trump supporters. There's absolutely nothing that man can say that they don't back him on. You know, they come up with all sorts of reasons. Well, I don't look at the Tweets. And I do think he does have a visionary thing, which is it's all me. And I'm the one you know, I'm the messiah. Only I can fix it. And the people who voted for him, they know he's arrogant and that's what they like. TOM [00:08:37] They will point at that and they will say. Kennedy philanderer. Mobbed up. Oh. Johnson, Vietnam War. Liar. You know, like all these things. And they will just, you know, because that is what has happened. GREG [00:08:50] I think people vote based on who they identify with and who they feel is out. Yeah, right. Right. For them, even if all the issues aren't there, it's usually one driving issue or personality. LEE [00:09:01] And I think what's scary is that almost every late-night comedian does anti-Trump jokes and it makes absolute
1 minutes | Mar 6, 2020
Selling a President 2020 Podcast Coming Soon
Coming Soon! Selling A President 2020 created and hosted by Ellis Verdi, head of the award-winning New York advertising agency DeVito/Verdi, is a weekly podcast that explores the role of advertising and its impact in this year’s presidential election.